Have you heard of Pala ? This is the name given to a tool used in Gazechim’s chlorine operations, in response to a problem encountered by our customers in France, equipped with chlorine cylinders with manual valves, and also by our subsidiary in Spain, Grupo Gas Iberica.
Pala refers to the Basque racket game and was the brainchild of Thibault Alamôme and his team.
A few years ago, our chlorine customers were using an impact driver to open the old cylinder valves. This method required a lot of effort to open and close the valves. Moreover, some customers tighten them too much, making them difficult to open and damaging the valves. Even if they aren’t tightened them too much, corrosion sometimes makes it difficult to open them.
To solve this problem, Gazechim designed a new wooden tool shaped like a water droplet. Several steel and plastic prototypes were tested, but none produced the expected results. “That’s when we decided to use wood, and called in a collaborative woodworking firm in Montpellier. This association has a set of machines that it makes available to its members”, explains Thibault Alamôme, Gazechim’s Industrial Director.
Prototypes of the Pala were manufactured in birch plywood, then tested on site and at their customers’ premises. Following these conclusive tests, they proceeded to manufacture 4,000 Pala.
These wooden Pala are used not only by customers in the field, but also by the sales department during training sessions or customer visits. Thanks to their ergonomic shape, reminiscent of a water droplet, they’re easy to grip and allow valves to be opened efficiently, without damaging them.