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the latest material handling developments from Columbus McKinnon
Updated: 1 week 5 hours ago

Taking Entertainment Rigging Training to New Heights

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 23:00

 

In the entertainment industry, rigging can be both a challenging and dangerous task. To help provide entertainment professionals with hands-on rigging experience, Robert Lannon of RPL Building Services, LLC, kicked off his first Rigging Climbing Camp in June of this year. Sponsored by Atlanta Rigging Systems and held at Southeastern Rope Access Training Facilities in Atlanta, Georgia, the three-day course was designed to teach basic climbing, rigging and aerial platform operation to entertainment professionals to prepare them for real-world rigging scenarios.

“Most of the riggers I know had no training whatsoever the first time they stepped out on a beam, pulled a point or drove a lift,” said Dave Gittens of Atlanta Rigging Systems. “The first place a rigger performs any of those tasks should not be in an arena roof structure. That was the motivation for this class.”

Twelve entertainment professionals attended the camp, including myself and CMCO’s Entertainment Business Development Specialist, Jennifer O’Leary. We kicked off the training by first discussing personal protective equipment, including harnesses, lanyards and helmets, as well as fall protection, structure climbing and beam walking. We also learned rope access techniques, including ascending, changeovers, descending and edge negotiations.

Other critical skills covered during the hands-on training included:

  • Utilizing motor control systems
  • Moving trusses
  • Rope management
  • Rescue pick offs from a structure
  • Aerial platform operation, including scissor and boom lifts

Using a 30 foot truss supplied by Atlanta Rigging, we pulled together everything we learned to conduct beam walks, climb a wire rope ladder, use horizontal life lines and rappel from the top of the structure. As we got more comfortable navigating the structure, product and tasks, you could see everyone push themselves and gain confidence in their skills.

Columbus McKinnon rigging training is a perfect complement to Rigging Climbing Camp, educating attendees on rigging fundamentals, safety practices, regulations and inspection techniques. When paired with the hands-on experience provided by the Rigging Climbing Camp, entertainment professionals will have a well-rounded understanding of proper rigging practices as well as real-life rigging situations and challenges encountered at entertainment venues.

To see our full selection of material handling products for the entertainment industry, visit www.cm-et.com.

Know your Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 23:00

Do you know the origin of your Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders? If you’re comparing costs and quality, or trying to meet domestic-only product requirements for a project, it’s important that you know the country of origin.

In fact, there are a number of things to consider when buying and selling Transport Binder Chain Assemblies and Load Binders. I will highlight a few things you should look for to ensure you are comparing apples to apples and getting the product that best meets your needs.

CM Offers 3 Types of Binder Chain Assemblies:

Short Link Chain Assemblies with Domestic Hooks are our premium, 100% American-made Chain Assemblies that feature US-made short link chain and US-made hooks. CM is the only manufacturer of short link chain and set the standard for it years ago with the introduction of Gold Standard (gold chromate) chain. The smaller dimension of the short link chain is preferred by users because it allows for easier take up and better cornering. This means that the chain links are less likely to bend when they go around a corner.

Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Domestic Hooks, like our short link assemblies, feature US-made chain and US-made hooks manufactured and assembled at our Tennessee facilities. The longer pitch of the standard link chain translates into less overall weight. Standard link chain is common in most US-made assemblies.

Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Imported Hooks are competitively priced assemblies that feature domestic-made chain with imported hooks. This type of assembly is very common in the industry and is made by many competitors domestically.

View a comparison chart of our three types of binder chain assemblies.

Does your job require proof that your equipment was made in America?

Whether Binder Chain Assemblies or Load Binders, you should be able to find the name of the country of origin printed or embossed right on the unit. All CM domestic products will have a forged “USA” clearly visible.

Competitors may put their markings in inconspicuous places where it is less likely to be seen. On some competitors’ ratchet load binders you need to really look to find “China” discreetly hidden on the side of the thumb switch. Always check your Ratchet and Lever Load Binders thoroughly to make sure they’re made in the USA.

For domestic chain and hooks, Columbus McKinnon goes one step further by featuring trace codes. These trace codes allow you to not only trace the steel that was used to make the product, but also the date of manufacture and the processes used in manufacturing the product.

Lastly, CM offers full disclosure with a Certificate of Conformity (COC) and a Certificate of Origin (COO) on all of our Transport Binder Chain Assemblies, Ratchet Load Binders and Lever Load Binders. These COCs and COOs are available for download on our Distributor website or by request from a Columbus McKinnon customer service representative.

Meeting Industry Standards

The transportation industry uses a large assortment of Binder Chain Assemblies that come from all over the world. Some of these products meet multiple recognized standards while others do not meet any specifications at all. It’s truly “buyer beware.”

However, Columbus McKinnon transport binder chains and assemblies meet all regulatory requirements for transportation in North America, including NACM 2014, ASTM A413 and D.O.T. requirements.

Comparing Costs: Apples to Apples

When comparing CM products and pricing to the competition, it is important to make sure that you are comparing equivalent products.

The majority of our competitors offer assemblies with domestic-made chain and imported hooks. These mixed assemblies are designed to be economical, and our Standard Link Chain Assemblies with Imported Hooks match up nicely in price and quality. Assemblies that use components with mixed countries of origin are fine for applications where domestic-made products are not required.

In contrast, you can’t compare CM Standard Link Chain Assemblies and Short Link Chain Assemblies that feature domestic hooks to the competition that uses imported components. Our 100% US-made assemblies are premium, high-quality products proudly manufactured in Tennessee. Comparing these premium units to imported products (whether fully imported or made with imported components) would be comparing apples to oranges.

So, there’s a lot to consider before you buy or sell your next load binder or binder chain assembly. For more information, contact a Columbus McKinnon Sales Representative at 800-888-0985. If you’re interested in getting professional, hands-on Load Securement Training click here.

Yale Lifting Solutions Works to Improve Mine Safety

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 23:00

Yale Lifting Solutions, a subsidiary of Columbus McKinnon, has developed a product that significantly enhances safety and efficiency in underground mines. Located in South Africa, Yale Lifting solutions specializes in material handling needs of the mining industry and was well-suited to provide expertise for this application.

An Unsafe Practice
In underground mining operations, locomotives and hoppers operating on rails are used to transport ore and other materials. Derailing is a common occurrence, and getting the unit back onto the rails can be a very time consuming and extremely dangerous process. A common long-standing practice is to repeatedly jack up the locomotive and push it, until it’s close enough to be dropped onto the rails. Needless to say, this re-railing method is very unsafe.

A Better Way Of Doing Things:
The Taurus Jack & Re-Railing Device
Yale Lifting Solutions recognized the current re-railing practice as unsafe, and developed a patented re-railing device that could be used in conjunction with their existing Yale Taurus Jack.

The Yale re-railing device is placed across the rails. The Taurus Jack is then positioned on it and used to raise the front of the locomotive. After the unit is raised, the re-railing device can be manually operated to carefully move the locomotive sideways to align it with the tracks below. Once in place over the rails, the locomotive or hopper can be gently lowered on the rails using the Taurus Jack.

The re-railing device had to meet special weight and size requirements so it could be easily stored in the cab of the locomotive. One-person operation was also extremely important because sometimes train derailment occurs in a remote area of the mine and the locomotive operator has to re-rail the locomotive on their own.

After months of fine tuning, Yale Lifting Solutions’ re-railing device was approved by the mines and is now being requested at a rapid rate. This application story is a great example of how CMCO’s commitment to improving safety and partnering with customers can help solve unique challenges with practical solutions.

Yale Cable King Hoist Helps Turn Grapes Into Wine

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:00

The Wine Industry may seem like a glamorous business, but taking a grape from the vineyard and transforming it into your favorite wine is no easy feat. Just ask HECO Pacific Manufacturing.

HECO is a California-based crane manufacturing company that specializes in the production of turnkey winery hoist systems. HECO has built systems for some of the largest wineries in California and Washington. Their standard configurations range from 5 to 10 ton capacity and come with HECO’s trolley system. These systems utilize our heavy-duty Yale Cable King wire rope hoists together with a right angle mounted trolley with modifications for outdoor service.

The Application
So how are these systems being used? HECO’s winery hoisting systems are used to move large vats of freshly picked grapes to the crushing machine. Once in place, the hoists are used to tilt the vat and pour the grapes into the crushing mechanism. This is no easy task – just look at the size!

Knowing your Environment
At Columbus McKinnon, we often speak about the importance of knowing the environment where your product is used. These systems are being used outdoors in an earthquake-prone area, which can make for unique operating conditions. HECO knows these conditions well and designed its systems to meet the latest Seismic Zone 4 requirements (for earthquakes) as well as ANSI B 30.11 safety standards.

We are always on the search for unique applications like this one where our products are being used. Please contact me if you have an application story to share.

Pfaff-silberblau Lifting Systems Help Boost Safety for Montreal’s Metro System

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 23:30

Montreal’s metro system, “STM”, is Canada’s busiest underground transportation system. In 2006, the Canadian provincial government of Quebec decided, as a measure to reduce the number of private cars on the roads, to extend local public transport facilities by 16%. Montreal undertook this project in the metropolitan area, which soon led to a 22% increase in the use of local public transportation.

To transport the additional passengers quickly and comfortably, modern trains were ordered from a consortium made up of the two leading train manufacturers, Bombardier and Alstom. In total, an order was placed for approximately 468 MPM-10 trains, each consisting of nine coupled carriages.

These trains run on quiet, low-vibration rubber tires rather than on steel wheels. Since safety is exceptionally important where railways are concerned, the bogies (wheel sets) have to be serviced and replaced at regular intervals. To accomplish this, a system capable of lifting the entire train with all nine carriages in sync (+/- 3mm) would be required. This system would be installed at the Youville depot, which is where trains used for the STM system are serviced.

Choosing a lifting system
As far back as 2008, a team of external consultants began researching and examining lifting equipment to determine what would be most suitable for this massive undertaking. The team visited reference installations of the world’s leading lifting system manufacturers to find the best option. During a trip to Europe, Pfaff-Silberblau invited this team to Austria, where they were particularly impressed by the underfloor lifting system used by the Wiener Linen (Vienna Lines). This lifting system had been supplied a few years prior by Pfaff-silberblau. Some of the most important parameters and features of this lifting system, which up to that point was the longest of its kind, were later incorporated into the specifications for the system required at the STM Youville depot in Montreal.

It took until 2011 for the project team to put out an official bid for an underfloor lifting system and two turntables. Many of the original competing companies had to drop out, either on account of technical and financial deficiencies or due to the lack of references for similar systems. For these reasons, Pfaff-silberblau Rail Technology in Kissing was awarded the contract later that year.

Designing the lifting system
After winning the bid, Pfaff-silberblau went through a variety of steps before their system could be put into place. This included: technical and commercial consultations, the design and manufacturing of the system, a factory acceptance test by STM and construction of a prototype.

Project at a Glance

Number of wheel lifting platforms

18

Number of body supports

36

Lifting capacity of the system

306 tons

Lifting height of the system

1.7 meters

Length of the system

160 meters

The system had to be designed in accordance with the European standard for vehicle lifting platforms EN1493, while at the same time observing North-American welding and electrical standards. The STM planning team also used key data from Pfaff’s lifting system used by the Wiener Linen to develop specifications for the Youville depot.

To build the system, Pfaff had to work closely with Canadian suppliers. This entire process proved to be challenging given the multi-lingual global project team. Pfaff-silberblau was able to complete the project to the customer’s detailed specifications and within the predefined time schedule and plan.

Installing the system
Once constructional pre-conditions had been met at the Youville depot and the foundations were built, the installation commenced in late 2013. At this time, Pfaff shipped the lifting system to the customer, which included 18 containers measuring 40 feet long with a combined weight of 280 tons.

The lifting system was installed under the strict scrutiny of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Throughout the entire duration of the installation, there was neither an accident nor a negative report issued by health and safety officials. The delivery of the new trains began in May 2014.

Summer Concert Series: Where is your CM Hoist?

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 18:30

Who doesn’t love the summer time and seeing a great concert with your favorite band from the past or present? A few of my associates recently shared photos from their favorite summer concerts: Charlie Daniels Band (past!) and the Arctic Monkeys (definitely the present).

The reason they shared them is because they were excited to see our CM hoists in action!

We know that many of you have some great things planned for this summer, so we started a photo album on Facebook to capture some of your cool photos of Columbus McKinnon products working hard at concerts and events. If you spot them being used, please snap a photo and send it our way. We will post your pictures on our Facebook photo album and each month we will choose a lucky winner who will receive a box of some great CM promotional items!

There are many ways you can share your photos with us – choose your favorite channel!

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Google+

Or via email at cmcolive@cmworks.com

Looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful places you will visit this summer!

 

The CM Man Guard: CSA Approved for the Canadian Market

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 01:00

Columbus McKinnon recently launched the CM Man Guard electric chain hoist with CSA approval for the Canadian market. To explain the importance of CSA approval and discuss the features of this great hoist, we interviewed our Canadian National Sales Manager, Chris Siabanis.

What is CSA approval?
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is an independent third-party testing and certification organization. CSA tests products and their components, as well as audits manufacturing processes to ensure products meet or exceed the necessary codes, specifications and accredited standards for sale into the Canadian marketplace. Products must be CSA approved to be sold in Canada.

Since its launch in September 2011, the CM Man Guard has been well-received in the U.S. So, we felt that it would be an excellent addition to our Canadian product portfolio as well. That’s why we pursued CSA approval.

What are the key features of the CM Man Guard?
Known for reliable performance and best-in-class safety features, the CM Man Guard is a competitively priced hoist option and is available in capacities ranging from 1/4 to 3 tons with standard lifts up to 20 feet. It also has a lifetime guarantee.

Some key features of this hoist that are most important to customers include:

  • H4 duty motors that allow the hoist to be used in high-duty-cycle environments. We are able to achieve H4 duty rating using higher quality components and do not require the aid of a fan to cool the motor, unlike competitors’ hoists.
  • Efficient low-cost operation that saves you money. The Man Guard’s specially engineered motor and precision-machined gearing reduce the electrical demand required to operate the hoist. Single-phase and three-phase amp draws are, on average, 50% less than the equivalent competitors’ models. Less electrical demand per hoist can add up to big operating cost savings.
  • Made in the USA and stocked in Canada ensuring availability. Manufactured in our Damascus, Virginia facility, these hoists and repair parts are readily available for delivery from our Canadian warehouses located in Cobourg, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta.

What is ISG and what are the benefits to the customer?
Aside from all its great features, the CM Man Guard is part of our In-Stock Guarantee (ISG). Our In-Stock Guarantee (ISG) is our commitment to shipping our most popular chain, hoists and rigging products in 3 days or less. The CM Man Guard is our first electric chain hoist available through ISG, with more than 40 models in-stock and ready to ship, including 575V 2-speed units. This is a game changer for the industry.

Man Guard models available through the In-Stock Guarantee include:

  • Hook mount 1/4, 1/2, 1 and 2 ton units with 10, 15 and 20 foot lifts at 16 fpm
  • Hook mount 3 ton units with 10, 15 and 20 foot lifts at 5 and 10 fpm

Are there new features or changes coming soon for the CM Man Guard?
We are currently developing a lug mount for the CM Man Guard that can be used with the Universal Trolley. The UT Trolley allows you to use one trolley with a variety of CM air and electric chain hoists. It provides flexibility with inventory while reducing the need to stock trolleys for each model of CM chain and air chain hoist you use or carry, including the Man Guard.

For more information on the CSA Man Guard, visit our website.

The True Meaning of the Name “Lodestar”

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 23:15

Our entertainment trainer, Dave Carmack, travels the world to teach and share important information about entertainment rigging and hoisting safety. At the end of his classes, he likes to stump his students with this question: “Can you tell me why we spell our hoist, LODESTAR, instead of LOADSTAR?”

Dave was asked this question many years ago by a student, which prompted him to do some research.

Reaching out to Columbus McKinnon engineers, Dave finally found the answer.

“Lodestar” is defined as a guiding star. In 1955, when the first industrial Lodestar was introduced, many of our hoists had galactic names like Meteor, Satellite and Comet. It was the first of many unique products that Columbus McKinnon brought to the material handling industry, which also included aluminum hoist frames, the Weston-Type brake, and the first alloy chain.

In a recent CM-ET class, Jamie, a CMCO training course attendee from Canton, Michigan wrote this answer:

“A Lodestar is one that serves as an inspiration, model or guide. The Lodestar hoist was engineered and designed to be a leader and model in the entertainment industry.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Want to learn more about entertainment motors? In case you missed it, here is a link to the recording for the session listed below: http://owl.li/x8D4C .  This is one you won’t want to miss!

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