Helping People Help Themselves- Unex and Open Door Rehabilitation Center

Giving back to the community has long been a priority for Unex Manufacturing. While there are many causes out there worthy of support, the story of Open Door Rehabilitation Center in Sandwich, Illinois struck a chord with us in a profound way. When the ODRC was searching for ways to increase productivity in their assembly operations, Unex was eager to help them in any way possible.

Open Door Rehabilitation Center provides vocational, residential, day and community support services to adults with developmental disabilities. The goal of the center is to increase and maintain skills in the least restrictive environment in order to help people achieve their maximum potential.

The Open Door Rehabilitation Center began in a basement workshop in Sandwich, Illinois in 1963. As the program grew in size and scope, the community collaborated around the program to fund it and move it into larger facilities. Over time, Open Door Rehabilitation became a widely renowned center for vocational training and income for the region’s developmentally disabled residents.

A cumbersome carton handling process was slowing down workers at the center's assembly facility, where participants learn job skills and assemble small automotive clips for hoses and other parts.

"This is a repetitive pick and assembly process," said Jim Porter, Open Door Rehabilitation Center's production manager. "Our workers assemble more than a million of these components each year, which can result in considerable wear and tear on the body.”

Components reside in containers of various sizes, weighing up to 25 pounds and holding up to 11,000 tiny pieces. In the past, cartons were stacked several feet high on sheets of plywood. Workers often had to climb a ladder to access the cartons and move them forward to the picking area, which took considerable effort and time. Span-Track reduced the time, space and effort needed for carton accessibility.

The Span-Track system also helped maximize space at the center, which frequently adds new programs and classes for the disabled.

"About 30 percent of our assembly space has been recently transformed into an exercise room and classrooms so that clients can learn skills like math and sewing," said Porter. "Space is at a premium here, and Span-Track helps us get the most out of our facility."

While we are proud of the impact our products have on our customers' operations, being able to provide solutions for the Open Door Rehabilitation Center was a particularly proud moment for our company. Working with an organization with such a positive and admirable mission has been a rewarding experience for everyone at Unex. We very much look forward to continuing our collaboration with those who seek to improve and enrich our communities.

To learn more about the Open Door Rehabilitation Center, visit their website at

Posted by: UNEX