When Ray Faber created his first Faber Toolbox, he painted it red.
‘Toolboxes should be red’, said Ray, and so mostly they were in 1984!
However, not only did Ray create a truly innovative toolbox, he and partner Robyn set up their manufacturing to minimise waste and be ecologically sustainable.
Although extended many times since construction in 1985, the Faber Toolbox factory was designed to save energy, minimise its footprint, and provide a comfortable working environment for staff.
Foundations were designed using Fibrecrete, with metal pins replacing normal reinforcing in 40mPa concrete: this reduced the volume of concrete needed, needed no membrane and reduced installation time by 70%! The steel building was fully thermal and acoustic insulated.
Not only do staff work in comfort (summer temperatures in Narrabri can exceed 40 degrees regularly), noise levels inside are safe for workers and no sound can be heard outside when doors are closed. Skylights minimise the amount of artificial light required. Overhead reticulated air powers most tools, reducing energy inputs and removing power cords from floors.
Using ‘lean manufacturing’ techniques, work processes occur in ‘cells’ with natural flow through the building from front to back. Sheet steelracks are filled through external doors, forklifts rarely enter the building. Customer ‘pull-through’ minimises inventory and is supported by ‘Just in Time’ arrangements with suppliers. Everything that can be recycled is: waste metal goes to the scrap merchant or used to make steel export
In 1995 Ray and Robyn dispensed with wet paint coating in favour of powdercoat to provide a more durable finish, with reduction in the use of chemicals.
When they invested in their own powdercoating plant in 2004, the plant was designed for maximum recycling of powder and sandblast grit (no chemical treatments are used) using LPG to fuel the baking oven.
Beyond the manufacturing processes, the company has a trade back policy, which not only underpins the performance guarantee, but provides responsibility for the life cycle of the toolboxes.
Traded boxes are refurbished and resold. In the unlikely event a box cannot be refurbished, all of its components can be recycled, with the steel used to supply feed for electric steel mills.
The iron ore miner in the Pilbara of WA can have his ore come back to him in the form of a Faber Toolbox!