DARD factory setup progresses


                                                             Photo By Shari Harris
In the foreground, some DARD products are displayed. 
Lines of machines await the finishing touches on the system.
By Shari Harris,

Co-Publisher
Stan Morrison, Chief Operating Officer of DARD Products, announced at the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tue., March 19, that their Licking factory is nearly fully operational. DARD Products is a supplier of promotional products that companies use for advertising, like pens, mugs, t-shirts, etc. Their Licking site currently has six employees and has shipped 12 orders, but anticipate more than doubling their employees in the next few weeks.
Twenty truckloads were required to move the DARD factory from Chicago to the factory building in Licking. All of this equipment and material had to be unpacked, assembled and set up for use.
In addition, other work was required to update the factory.
Photo By Shari Harris
The yellow air compressor and blue air dryer
 were anticipated to be ready by mid-week.
The air compressor, which was likely left over from the Rawlings days, was not powerful enough to run all of the DARD machinery, so a new air compressor was installed. The 460 voltage required by the new compressor was not available in the factory, so new transformers along with other work was required of Intercounty Electric to give DARD access to the higher voltage. DARD Maintenance Supervisor Gary Sullins expected the new compressor and accompanying air dryer, which dries the air en route to the machinery, to be up and running by mid-week. An IT component remains to getting things fully operational.
In addition to DARD, sporting goods provider Athletic Specialties (both DARD and Athletic Specialties are owned by Scott Palmberg) will be utilizing space in the factory for warehousing and shipping their products. Two truckloads of Athletic Specialties product are currently stored in the warehouse on pallets in the center of the room due to the leaking roof.
Photo By Shari Harris
Athletic Specialties products remain stacked on pallets
in the center of the room to avoid dripping water and puddles, 
as seen between the boxes and the wall.
Racking will be assembled throughout the warehouse to hold this product and ten more truckloads that are currently on hold, as soon as the roof of the warehouse is replaced. The Board of Aldermen accepted a bid to replace the factory roof, and as soon as it can be replaced, Athletic Specialties will begin their warehousing/shipping operations.
Production Supervisor Milo Thompson has completed training on the machine operation to create the DARD products. Thompson has experience sewing commercially, but the DARD equipment was new to her. Thompson stated that the machinery was “easier to learn that I ever thought it’d be.”
DARD has received more than 100 applications, and Sullins stated they have a “stack of orders” waiting to be filled. The process to get the factory up and running may have taken a little longer than initially expected, but the machines are lined up, with chairs at each workstation, ready for local talent to fill them. And the community is ready for those jobs!

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