Category Archives: blog

The Importance of U.S. Steel in National Security

Trump and Steel

With the Trump administration’s pro-defense stance, the U.S. will need of a robust and steady supply of steel to support an increase in defense manufacturing. A major war could cut off our supply of steel from overseas and thereby impact our ability to ramp up the requisite production of armaments. The military’s heavier utilization of domestic sources of steel is arguably the answer to many national security concerns.

National Security Issue

Unsurprisingly, domestic steelmakers argue that the best way to ensure a viable industry is by clamping down on countries that engage in unfair trade practices. In response to these concerns, the administration recently mandated an industry-wide investigation that could lead to the penalization of those behind unfair steel imports.

Section 232 Steel Investigation

The investigation being conducted by the Department of Commerce, (“Section 232”), may soon lead to the further curbing of steel imports with the imposition of tariffs beyond the existing anti-dumping penalties and quotas limiting steel imports. The concern is price increases for our many industries that depend on steel. However, it is believed that progress is being made in finding a sweet spot in which our national security concerns are addressed while consumers’ price concerns are also taken into account.

How We Fit into the Equation

As a custom material handling manufacturer, many of our customers work in the US steel industry. We provide heavy-duty equipment built for large scale projects such as infrastructure development and defense manufacturing. Therefore, the state of steel is something that we pay close attention to.

Let us know what you think about the US steel sector and the Section 232 steel investigations on Twitter. And, to learn more about Hunter Lift, give us a toll-free call at (800) 231-6501 or drop us an email at info@hunterlift.com. Also catch up by connecting with us on LinkedIn and by reading our blog.

The Importance of Quality and ISO Certifications in Manufacturing

One thing that sets us apart is our commitment to quality and safety standards in manufacturing. But what does it really mean when a company says they’re committed to quality?

The International Organization for Standardization has been around since 1946 to coordinate international industrial standards. The organization as it’s recognized today, ISO, officially began operations in 1947.

ISO develops requirements and guidelines to ensure that products and processes meet a certain standard. Companies can request tests and inspections to certify that they adhere to a particular standard, though certification is actually provided by an outside assessor – not through ISO directly.

But what’s the whole purpose of following these standards and procedures? And why should buyers care if a company has been certified to adhere to ISO requirements?

It all comes down reliability. In order for a company to pass an audit, they need to be performing the same process the same way, every time. This leaves little to no room for error.

For custom equipment manufacturers, there needs to be a basic foundation in engineering concepts to ensure that things are done correctly, even if they’ve never technically been done before. The whole purpose of getting certified is that you want your customer to have the same results with every order. Customer satisfaction is a main driver for certification.

At Hunter Lift, we are currently certified for ISO 9001:2008, soon to be certified ISO 9001:2015. This particular standard focuses on quality management systems and can be applied to any type of organization. As a manufacturer of custom material handling equipment, it’s vital that our customers can trust our products, which are often used in heavy duty applications.

To learn more about our commitment to quality, feel free to call 1-800-231-6501 or email info@hunterlift.com.

Innovations in the Construction Industry

The basics of the construction industry have been pretty much the same for decades. Materials and building methods have held fairly steady with wood and steel being the major players. But, advances in technology and market awareness of unique qualities are driving the construction materials and materials innovations.

Advances in 3D printing and materials are adding another layer to the industry’s portfolio. 3D printing is a manufacturing technique that ‘prints’ by laying material down to build an object. Also known as additive manufacturing, this process is being used in many industries to build small parts but printers are being developed that can print very large parts using different materials such as concrete.

New house-building printers have capabilities to build 1,000 square feet a day. Some, like the WASP system, use local materials such as clay and dirt and are designed for use in disaster or developing areas. The Apis-Corbuilds from the inside out and doesn’t need any railing system to move on. The ideas for 3D printing of buildings has been in the works for years and although they are performing better, the reality of widespread commercial use of these types of innovations are still in the future.

The future is now, though, for innovative materials that meet building codes and standards as well as environmental and safety concerns. One such product, cross-laminated timber (CLT), is an engineered wood product that offers the strength of heavy timber but has fire resistant properties, is renewable and sustainable, and reduces a building’s carbon footprint. Bamboo is also a material that could one day be used in place of reinforced steel because of its tensile strength.

Fostering new ideas and encouraging innovation is what drives most industries to evolve. The new products being developed for the construction industry will help meet changing standards. No matter what new ideas come along, Hunter Lift will be ready with the custom material handling equipment the industry requires.

If you have any questions regarding our products and services, please contact us today or visit our website.

Similarities and Differences Between Four Chain Grades

At Hunter Lift, you can bet on one thing: we know all there is to know about lifting. It’s right there in our name. Our lifting devices serve countless needs and industries and use a variety of systems and materials.

Of course chains are a large part of lifting, and we’re often asked what the differences are between different grades of chains. Here, we’ll look at four chain grades and explore how they differ.

Grade 70 Chain
Grade 70, a transport chain, is often known as truckers’ chain—for obvious reasons. It is gold-colored but made of heat-treated carbon steel, and as a transport chain, is manufactured to meet DOT requirements. That said, it should never be utilized for overhead lifting; it can, however, be used for logging, towing, oil rigs, and as a safety chain.

Grade 80 Chain
Grade 80, a heat-treated steel chain, differs from Grade 70 in that it’s known for its excellent strength to weight ratio; therefore, it can be safely used for overhead lifting. Additionally, it can be used as a towing, safety, and recovery chain.

Grade 100 Chain
Like Grade 80, Grade 100 is known for its excellent strength and its suitability for overhead lifting. Grade 100, however, is even stronger—about 25% more so—and is therefore becoming even more popular than its predecessor (Grade 80), and is quickly replacing it. Of course, as a premium chain grade, it is more expensive.

Grade 120 Chain
As one of the newest of the performance chain grades, Grade 120 is the strongest of these four, due to its unique design. As a result, it is 50% stronger than Grade 80 and 25% stronger than Grade 100 and is very well suited for overhead lifting.

Of course there is no rule that says one chain grade is better than another for any situation; the right choice depends on your specific needs and application. If you have any questions about the above chains, or would like to discuss what’s best for you, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Why STEM Education and Careers Matter

This time of year is exciting for many reasons; for millions of Americans, however, it’s especially exciting, as it’s currently graduation season.

In 2014, well over 3.7 million Americans graduated from college, and according to the US Department of Education, American students are “graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before.”

This means that families around the country have a lot to be proud of; it also means that more and more young Americans will be in need of employment. Considering the amount of work put into pursuing higher education, and the cost of earning a degree, most recent graduates can’t wait long to find a job.

There’s one industry in which long-term employment is almost a certainty, wages are well above average, and the rewards are limitless: Manufacturing. According to NAM, the average manufacturing worker earned $77,506 in 2013. Furthermore, as businesses of all sizes continue to boom throughout the country, manufacturers and construction companies are hiring in record numbers, and are eager to continue adding to their staff.

What this means is that, simply put, manufacturing is an excellent career choice for young people. Companies are looking to hire, and they are specifically looking for people educated in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math.  According to the Department of Commerce, STEM careers have grown three times faster than non-STEM careers in the past ten years*, yet the amount of people enrolling in these programs has not risen accordingly.

Therefore, it’s important for parents, communities, schools, and educators to actively encourage young people to pursue these fields, to learn and prepare themselves for the limitless opportunities that exist out there. As our economy continues to improve, businesses continue to grow, and construction continues to boom, there will only be more opportunities, and now is the time for people to prepare. While there are increasingly more and more government programs put in place to encourage STEM education, we can all do our part—opening our doors, showing people what we make and do, and shedding light on the value of a STEM career.

As graduation season is upon us, take the time to show young people the lifetime of success they can expect from a career in manufacturing.

*http://www.devry.edu/stemready/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/STEM-Assembly-Fact-Sheet_FINAL.pdf

What’s the Best Crane for a Caustic Environment?

We don’t need to tell you: for whatever the job, you need a crane built to last. Downtime is not an option, and neither is failure.

cranes
By Gillfoto (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Cranes are a big part of the job, and a big investment. Therefore, it’s critical to choose the right one. If the environment in which the crane is operating is corrosive or caustic, you need a crane that will stand up to this.

Will a standard crane do the job? Yes. Will it last? Not necessarily. The solution? A crane especially designed for a corrosive/caustic environment.

The reason a standard crane won’t last long—and will require constant maintenance—is its inherent design. Its standard steel parts and components simply can’t stand up to the caustic environment for very long. They will rust and eventually break down.

Additionally, the crane’s electrical motors and parts will quickly wear down after exposure to the caustic/corrosive environment. Even the crane’s lubrication will quickly need replacing—it will evaporate faster due to caustic vapors—while chemicals can condense on the crane.

So what can be done to prevent this? A crane that is specifically designed for this environment will take all of these factors into account, and will feature a number of design elements to counteract them. Some of the many design choices will include:

  • Stainless steel parts—including wire rope, trolleys, suspension cable, etc.—can replace standard steel
  • Zinc plating of parts can offer the same benefits of stainless steel
  • Motors can use stainless steel hardware, and can have protective coatings
  • Non-rusting polymer can replace steel hoist sheaves
  • Wheels can have sealed bearings to keep vapors out
  • Control systems can be housed in enclosures

These are just some of the many ways a crane designed for caustic environments will effectively stand up to the elements, and therefore last significantly longer. In the end, the custom design will prove to be the most cost effective choice, proving invaluable down the line

Hunter Lift: A History of Growth, Satisfaction, and Success

hunterlift-liftHunter Lift is now known as a premier manufacturer of the highest quality industrial lifters available. Our products and equipment are  counted on by clients in a range of industries throughout the country. Of course, we are proud of this quality and recognition—but we are equally proud of how far we’ve come in a short amount of time, and how much we’ve grown and evolved to meet each customer’s needs.

We began operations in 2003, initially operating out of a rented facility, where our goal was to increase our market awareness and sales volume, all while manufacturing exceptional equipment, of course. In the past ten years, our business has multiplied by a factor of six, and as we grew, we moved into a 12,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility.

We are still growing significantly, currently adding an additional 8,000-square-foot facility with a lifting capacity of 50 tons. With each expansion over the past ten years, we’ve been able to reduce the cost of our equipment and directly pass on the savings to our customers, while continuously maintaining and improving our high quality standards.

Staff-3-One of the reasons for this consistent growth and success is our focus on and commitment to customer satisfaction. Our ISO 9001:2008 certification—proof of the quality of our products—has helped us achieve a 99% positive feedback from our customers, which we take very seriously.

In addition to this commitment to service and satisfaction, it is the design of our equipment that truly sets us apart. Unlike some of our industry competitors, we strictly adhere to the design standards set forth by ASME BTH-1. We maintain members on the ASME 830.20 and ASME BTH-1 committees, so that we can remain constantly aware of code changes and so we can provide input on future code changes that would allow for even more efficient and safer designs for our customers.

Through this approach, coupled with our degreed, professional on-staff engineers who are truly the best in the business, we maintain the highest level of success in engineering capabilities. Our engineers custom design each piece of equipment to specifically meet our customers’ needs. Our equipment is robust, meeting the requirements of severe service applications, and ranges in capacity from 300 pounds to 300 tons, and weighs from 30 to 100,000 pounds.

In short, it’s designed to be versatile, to last, to meet all needs, and to be the best. We have grown and flourished because of this, and we have no plans to stop, ever.