4 Things Custom Machined Parts Can Do That Factory Made Parts Can’t

Custom machining parts might seem like a luxury that doesn’t have a lot of pay off. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having custom parts will allow you to do jobs that either you couldn’t do or do well with factory made parts.

Other times your machines might need custom parts to keep them up and running correctly. We’ve made a list of things that custom parts can help with. Let’s learn more!

1. Handle Special Jobs

Some jobs will require special tools or parts to complete. In the past, you may have had to turn down some of these because you didn’t have the right equipment. Not anymore.

If you can custom make parts, then you can adapt the equipment that you do have. With the made-to-order parts, every task will seem to be much easier. This improves workforce productivity and allows you to grow your bottom line along the way.

2. Replace Old or Discontinued Parts

After you have machines for some time, they can become outdated or obsolete. That makes it hard to replace the parts as they wair out.  If an older machine that you use regularly goes out, you’ll lose money either in the downtime or by having to buy a new machine.

This is where custom made parts come in. You can easily have the part made to fit your machine regardless of how old it is. People who make these part can reverse engineer just about anything. You’ll just bring in the old part, and a new one can be made. This can cut down your wait time and get you back up and running quicker.

3. Give You a Hand with Tricky Material

Some materials are harder to work with than others, especially if you don’t have the right parts. Examples include plastics, bronze, and steel equipment.

You can’t use your regular equipment and processes with them. Because of this you might have had to limit the materials that you’ve worked with in the past.

4. Streamline Production

When you have custom equipment, you can cut down on time it takes you to do a job. Since the equipment that you are using is specially made for the job you are doing, you can get to it faster and better.

If you can make your own custom parts, then you never have to deal with suppliers. That also means you can make adjustments as you go without having to wait for someone else to send you more parts.

Regular Factory Made Parts Don’t Do All of That

When all of your employees are working at their full capacity, you’ll save a lot of money. For most companies, paying employees accounts for about 90% of total operating costs. When they work more, you make more.

Factory-made parts are limited in what they can do, while custom-made parts offer more versatility.

If you want to be able to take advantage of the things that custom factory parts can do for you, contact us.

 

Protecting Your Workers and Facility: Overhead Crane Safety

There is an average of 71 fatal accidents involving cranes in the United States every year.

It’s essential to understand overhead crane safety to avoid injury or death to your workers. By following these simple tips, you can help prevent numerous workplace accidents.

Keep reading to learn more about overhead crane operation and how to ensure the safety of everyone in your company.

1. Set up Daily Inspections

You should be doing a full, in-depth inspection of your crane every single day. Everything that’s checked should be noted in a log book where anything unusual can be written.

Some things to check every day include:

  • Operating mechanisms
  • Lines, tanks, and valves
  • Hooks
  • Hoist chains and ropes
  • Slings

Any unusual findings should immediately be addressed and the crane should never be operated if there are any suspicions that it may not be working correctly.

2. Inspect Before Every Lift

You should also be doing a quick visual inspection before every lift. This ensures nothing unusual has happened since the previous lift. It also allows you to make sure the loading area is clear of anything that could interfere with the next lift.

3. Always Confirm Suitability

If you always lift the same amount of weight with your crane, you can skip this step. However, if you are frequently moving objects of different weights, you need to ensure that your crane is capable of lifting them safely.

Carefully check everything from the type of motor you have to the sling and hook before lifting something. If you attempt to lift something heavier than what your crane can handle, the lift could end in disaster.

4. Use Clear Communication

In most cases, you won’t be able to speak directly to the crane operator. That’s why it’s crucial to have a qualified crane operator signal person on the ground.

This person should know the proper hand signals needed to safely direct the crane operator, so the job is completed without putting anyone in danger.

You’ll also want to communicate with everyone on the ground when a load is going up. This allows workers to clear the area while the crane is in operation.

5. Limit Crane Access

Crane access must be limited to only those who know how to operate it. In the wrong hands, an overhead crane can be deadly. Use locks and keycards to restrict crane access.

6. Minimize Load Swing

Make sure your crane operators are both qualified and skilled at operating a crane. This means they can smoothly move the load to minimize the amount of moving it does.

When the load swings, it puts unnecessary pressure on components and can create an unsafe work environment.

7. Keep Equipment Clean

This should go without saying, but avoid storing slings and other crane equipment on the floor. By keeping everything clean, you can keep it in good working order which will decrease the chances of failure.

Learn More About Overhead Crane Safety

Now you have a list of ways you can ensure the safety of yourself and your employees when using cranes.

Check out our article on small mobile crane maintenance. There, you’ll find additional information on how you can keep your crane running the way it should.

The Advantages of Portable Engine Hoists

Forklifts, cranes, and hoists, oh my! Industrial engine moving options are plentiful. So which do you choose?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but in this article, we’re going to focus on the benefits afforded to you with portable engine hoists. Keep reading to learn more!

Portability

Let’s start with one of the more obvious advantages, shall we? It makes sense that portable engine hoists would be, well, portable.

These types of hoists make it easy to transport heavy and bulky engines to different locations. The hoist itself is also designed to be easily moved to various areas.

Versatility

These hoists are versatile in their power source as well as their application.

In terms of power, they can be powered manually, with air power, or with electric power. Electrically powered hoists are the fastest and most efficient, allowing workers to rest instead of manually lifting heavy loads.

They can also use chains, rope, and wire to lift engines and other industrial parts, so it can be customized for each project on which material will work best.

Certain types of portable engine hoists also allow you to lift and move things both vertically and horizontally, which other moving machines aren’t able to do.

Quiet

Compared to other types of cranes, hoists, and machinery, portable engine hoists (especially those that are electrically powered) tend to be quieter. This can be a relief on many job sites and industrial areas that get loud.

Can Handle Heavy Loads

Perhaps the most important advantage of using hoists is that they can handle heavy loads that workers can’t handle on their own. Instead of overworking people and tasking them with manually transporting heavy engines, hoists make it quick, simple, and easy, no matter how large the engine is.

Whether you’re moving small motorcycle engines or huge oil rig machinery, these industrial hoists can handle it.

Durable and Long-Lasting

We know what you might be thinking: this is yet another piece of machinery that you’ll have to maintain and eventually replace.

But that’s what makes these types of industrial hoists so great: they have fewer parts and components compared to larger cranes, trucks, and other types of industrial movers. This means they’re more easily maintain, are more durable, and require less maintenance.

This, in turn, means that they’re long-lasting and will serve you long into the future.

Those Advantages of Portable Engine Hoists Sound Great… But What About the Disadvantages?

Durability, portability, and versatility are three buzzwords when it comes to industrial machinery. But portable engine hoists are far from perfect, even if they fulfill those three desirable characteristics.

Before you buy, read our article on some of the most common crane/hoist problems that people face.

You can also contact us with any questions you still have about these types of hoists, if you want more clarity on the advantages/disadvantages, or if you’re ready to buy!

5 Must-Follow Mine Safety Tips to Prevent Mining Accidents

Mining accidents now claim more lives than ever worldwide. According to the Chicago Tribune, deaths and injuries reached an all-time high in 2017 with 15 deaths occurring in the United States.

And more recently, a mining accident in China killed 22 miners. But many of these mining accidents can be avoided sparing the lives of many mining professionals.

If you work in the mining industry, here’s what you need to know about mining to keep yourself and your employees safe.

5 Safety Tips to Prevent Mining Accidents

Accidents aren’t intentional, but they’re often preventable. Here are five crucial mine safety tips.

1. Be Aware Mining Is A Dangerous Business

The first thing you need to keep in your mind is that mining is a hazardous business. Be diligent of your surroundings while you work. You need to be vigilant and alert every second.

Be aware of not only your own actions and surroundings but the people around you.

2. Protect Yourself with Safety Equipment

Having the best mining equipment is a must, but when you’re down below, always wear safety equipment. Check to make sure your workers have on helmets and are wearing safety glasses and safety gloves.

It might feel more comfortable to work without safety equipment, but in the event of mining accidents, it can be the difference between life and death. If you’re the supervisor, insist safety equipment must be worn. Many workers’ lives have been saved by wearing helmets.

3. Don’t Overlook Safety for Production Goals

During planning stages, it’s important to consider safety as well as efficiency. As a supervisor, you may want to cut corners to reach work deadlines.

But never overlook safety requirements to speed up production, save time and boost revenue.

Investigate potential accidents, always evaluate risks. When you discover a risk, inform your workers with specific directions on how to avoid each risk or the possibility of mining accidents while working in the mines.

4. Clearly Define Safety Procedures

In the case of a mining accident, employees need to know how to handle it. To make this happen, clearly, define safety procedures from the outset. When documenting safety procedures, list the possible incidents that could take place.

Then follow up the potential incidents with the actions that need to be taken and the appropriate supervisor to contact. To keep safety procedures in the minds of workers, post signs in areas where your mining team can view them.

5. Know and Follow Up-to-Date Safety Standards

It’s essential to keep up to date with the most recent safety standards. Make sure your company services all safety equipment frequently and the equipment matches the current standards for safety.

When equipment no longer meets safety regulations, replace the equipment immediately even if you have to delay your project timeline. Don’t permit your miners to use outmoded safety equipment.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Mining Accidents

While there’s no guarantee that all mining accidents can be eradicated, many accidents can be prevented when exercising proper safety precautions.

Follow these five safety recommendations to avoid careless mistakes that others have made to keep your team safe and in the know, avoid mining accidents and possible tragedies.

Kor-Pak is your go-to provider for braking systems for mining applications and much more. Contact us today to learn more about our competitively priced mining products.

The Applications of Industrial Vibrators

Industrial vibrators make processes faster, more efficient, and more effective.

Whether your industry is farming, construction, food production, shipping, or storage, you can benefit from these devices.

In this article, we’ll explain the many ways they are used.

Common Uses for Industrial Vibrators

Mechanical vibrators make everything easier. Read on to find out how.

Improve Dust Collection Systems

Many production lines require dust to be collected and removed. A mechanical vibrator is often part of this process.

Dust can be removed from the production line and collected in bags, cyclones, or even electrostatic precipitators. Once it’s been collected, a vibrator can be used to shift the dust out of the system and into a waste receptacle.

Merely opening a hopper or chute and allowing the dust to drop out on its own isn’t enough. Vibration is required to shift dust that sticks to the sides and into crevices and clear it completely.

This same principle is applied when using vibration in dump trucks. The force allows contents to be shifted and released more easily. Vibration is more effective than pounding, which can cause unnecessary damage.

Product Quality Control

Industrial vibrators can also be used to carry out shock testing and weatherproof testing on products and packaging during the quality control process.

Vibration frequency can be adjusted to recreate different shipping conditions and levels of impact. This allows testers to see which conditions cause damage to occur.

Compact Materials

Vibration can be used to compact materials, parts, or products before shipping so that they take up less space.

Storage boxes can be placed on vibrating tables during or after the filling process. As the table vibrates, the contents will shift, becoming more compact than they were before. This requires no human input at all and can be done entirely automatically.

This makes the entire shipping process cheaper and more efficient. As shipping volume is decreased, so are your costs.

Compacting is also required in construction work. Soil, concrete, and other materials need to be compacted when constructing roads, foundations, and buildings.

Settle Materials

In food and beverage production, vibration is used to settle materials and ingredients evenly and remove any trapped air and excess water. This is particularly important for chocolate production.

Vibration can also help ingredients flow more efficiently through a production line along feeders and conveyors, and cool and dry more quickly. This prevents any blockage from occurring, so everything can run as smoothly as possible.

Reap the Benefits for Your Business

Now that you know how industrial vibrators can be used, you can identify how to apply them in your business.

The next step is to find out which one is best for you. At Kor-Pak, we supply parts and machinery for just about any use you can think of. See our complete buying guide to find out what you need.

Once you’ve received your order, you can use our industrial vibrator installation guide to get it up and running.

5 Benefits of a Variable Frequency Drive

You know how sometimes you can hear a phrase for a while and not really know what it means? You nod along as everyone talks, but in the back of your mind, you hope nobody asks a direct question. That can happen to even the most seasoned crane operators when it comes to discussing a variable frequency drive.

Sometimes called a VFD for short, the market for these drives is expected to continue to climb to over 24 billion by 2021. These drives are often found in cranes and hoists, so a quick refresher on what they are and why they work well is time well spent.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Variable Frequency Drive

A simple analogy for what a VFD motor does is to picture a harness or bridle on a horse. The horse is your electric motor, and the harness is your VFD. Sometimes, it’s okay for your horse to run at full speed. Other times, you want to hold him back a little.

There is, of course, a place where every analogy breaks down, but hopefully, you get the idea. A VFD gives you the option to control the current of electricity going to your motor. If the motor can run without a full allotment, then a variable frequency controller may help.

5 Benefits of a VFD

Now that you have a basic picture of how it works let’s look at some of the benefits that come from one of these VFD drives.

It allows for a slow or measured ignition. Not all electric motors need a full jolt to get started. A VFD measures the actual output needed at ignition and provides only the amount needed to start.

Energy savings = cost savings. The overall reduction in energy doesn’t stop after the initial startup. A VFD drive saves energy while controlling all of the functions and output of the motor.

Smooth take-off. Instead of a jolt as the full force of electricity is sent to your motor, a VFD allows for a smooth release of power. This allows the motor to “ramp up” as needed and saves wear and tear that occurs when a motor gets repeatedly battered with the full force.

Smooth landing. Equally important to an engine being able to ramp up is the reverse. A smooth deceleration saves on wear and tear in the same way as a smooth acceleration.

Longer life. One of the main benefits of a VFD is, it grants your motor longer life. Less wear and tear on a motor is always something to strive for so the use of a VFD drive makes sense for your crane or hoist as well.

Know Your Equipment

Now that you’ve had a brief refresher on what a variable frequency drive is and some of the benefits, you will be ready for the next time it comes up in conversation.

If you are a crane operator, the benefits of knowing more about your equipment and how it works far outweighs being able to talk about it with your coworkers. If you still have questions, contact us today for more information.

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Sumitomo Gearbox

You’re in the market for a gearbox and not just anyone – a Sumitomo gearbox. Excellent choice.

Without a gearbox, you’ve got no “go”. It’s one of the earliest machine parts that man created and we wouldn’t get too far without it. At its core, a gearbox transmits uniform movement between two shafts at a constant pace.

Whether you’re a small business or a large construction outfit, a Sumitomo gearbox is the best addition to your heavy machinery. Although the basics of gearbox construction have been around a long time, Sumitomo puts a lot of thought into their goods.

Before you pick one out, let’s go over five things it’s important to know before you dish out your hard-earned cash.

1) Runs Smoothly

Of course, a gear box has gears in it. The teeth slide together to transfer that uniform motion we mentioned before.

The teeth of the gear are where all the action happen. If they’re smoothly grated and angled, you’ll get a much smoother motion.

A Sumitomo gearbox has been engineered to perfection, offering a smooth and constant motion.

2) Efficiency

There are a few factors to consider when calculating the efficiency. Size definitely comes into play so take into account where you’re going to be using your Sumitomo gearbox.

Figure out the torque load requirement of any job you’re planning. Next, match it up with the torque range of the gearbox.

If a gearbox is too big for what you need it for, the efficiency decreases – and you might damage your equipment. Don’t waste a bit of time, energy, money, or efficiency on the wrong gearbox for the job.

3) Cost

Pricing is a big factor when choosing a large piece of equipment like a Sumitomo gearbox. The materials of the box can affect the cost, but keep in mind it’s worth paying more for something that will last longer.

Some types of commonly used materials for gearboxes are powdered metal, machining steel, plastic, and bronze.

Powdered metal is going to be your most low-cost option but has reduced load capacity. Steel can take on any job you give it – but is also pretty heavy.

As with anything weigh your options carefully.

4) Environmental Needs

Consider the environment you’ll be using your Sumitomo gearbox.

Will it be too loud? Is it too heavy for where we’re going to use it? Is it too big or will it run too hot?

Don’t put yourself behind by ordering the wrong type of gearbox and having to wait for a replacement.

5) Flexibility

Maybe you demand a lot from your equipment. You can save money and do more with less if your gearbox has flexibility.

Again, the torque equation comes into play. If you have a wide variety of jobs, see what the range is for all of them.

There’s probably a Sumitomo gearbox that’s your perfect match!

Go With The Sumitomo Gearbox Pros

There’s a lot of industries that utilize gearboxes so naturally there’s a lot of questions about what works best where.

Good thing we’ve got the answers.

Kor-Pak knows the ins and outs of heavy machinery. Plus, we know that uptime is extremely valuable.

If you want the best machine parts at a price that works for you and your company, call or email us today. We look forward to helping you!

How Your Cranes Can Benefit From Our Many Upgrades

Historians believe that cranes have been around since the 6th century B.C.

There have been many innovations to these machines over the course of thousands of years, but no changes have been as profound as those seen in our lifetime.

Kor-Pak has adapted to a changing world by providing the best and latest technology to our machines. As business demands increase, so do the need for reliable tools.

Rather than investing in a new crane, consider making upgrades to your existing one to take your equipment to the next level. Here’s how your crane can benefit from our many high-quality upgrades.

Automation Upgrades

Technological advancements have brought big changes to our workforce. In fact, an estimated 45 percent of activities in the economy could be automated with already demonstrated technology. Welcome to the future.

Our crane technology also includes innovations that can lead to automated crane handling. We’ve been able to eliminate the need for manual control via a material handling system. This system provides for safer operations, greater reliability, and reduced costs.

A growing trend to operate overhead cranes from the ground instead of an operator’s cab. Through a basic upgrade, you can greatly reduce your cost of labor and let workers focus on other tasks.

Our remote wireless control system allows for efficient operation and eliminates many of the difficulties that workers encounter. This affordable and reliable upgrade can end up saving you big money in the long run.

Mechanical Upgrades

The average crane can last decades. While these machines may be fine structurally, it’s natural for their parts to suffer from wear and tear.

One of our best upgrades is to replace older parts with their new modern versions. Not only does this help extend the life of your crane, but it also increases your efficiency through greater technological advancements. Our updated versions of mechanical products include rope drums, gears, spreader beams, pinions, and more.

Your crane efficiency is key, but so is its safety. Our upgraded products have helped to maximize operator safety to make sure that there are no catastrophes no matter your job site.

Our new storm and parking brakes help to protect you from losing control of your crane due to difficult environmental factors. Furthermore, our newly improved rail clamps can make sure operators are safe in inclement weather.

Upgrading brake systems is one of the best things you can do for your crane. They can help improve the longevity of brake linings, overall performance, and also ensure that you have an updated system in case you need a spare.

Today’s technology is more advanced and optimized for today’s workers than ever before. By making basic mechanical upgrades, you’re giving yourself the safest, most efficient, and longest lasting crane possible.

The Best Cranes

Modern cranes are better than ever before.

But before you invest in a new one try making some basic upgrades. You can extend the life cycle of your current model and increase your safety and work performance in one fell swoop.

Are you considering making upgrades to your crane? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about our upgrades.

How to Select the Best Torque Limiters to Meet Your Needs

No matter the industry, there are a few universal truths about heavy machinery:

It’s expensive.

It works hard.

Downtown costs money.

It’s incredibly important to take care of it.

When it comes to protecting and extending the life of your heavy machinery, there’s one piece of equipment that is vital — the torque limiter.

What do they do and how do you select the one that’s right for your needs? Keep reading for answers to these and more torque limiter questions.

What’s Torque and What Do Torque Limiters Do?

Let’s start by covering all the bases and making sure everyone knows what torque is.

Torque is generally associated with the power of a machine, be it a crane or a Corvette. How many of us first heard the term in a car commercial?

Without delving deep into the physics of it, the layman’s term definition of torque is “a twisting force that causes rotation.”

Torque is the force that determines how hard an engine works, whether it’s the sedan that carries our children to school or the crane that lifts fully-loaded shipping containers. The more torque an engine produces, the more work it can do.

The thing about torque is that not only is it powerful enough to propel objects to great distances and heights, it’s also powerful enough to damage the very machines that generate it.

That’s where torque limiters come in.

These devices, which are often referred to as clutches, control the amount of torque that the driveshaft of a car, truck, crane or another piece of machinery experiences at any given time.

In doing so, torque limiters prevent damage caused by mechanical overload.

How Do They Work?

Ok, so torque limiters protect our machines by doing just that — controlling the amount of torque they experience. But how?

Many ways.

Simple torque-limiting devices rely on a pin that connects two rotating objects.

When the spin they create becomes too great for the machine — that is when there is more torque than it can handle — the pin breaks. The machine stops. Damage is prevented.

Friction devices work sort of like the brakes in your car; a pair of friction linings grip the rotating drive component to decrease torque.

Ball and denet designs use the pressure of springs or pneumatic technology to cap torque. Magnetic and high-tech versions are also available.

Each of these versions range widely in terms of their applicability and, of course, cost.

For example, simple devices, the least expensive, are also the most unpredictable. Pins break at too low of levels, causing at best annoyance and at worst costly interruptions to your operation.

Magnetic versions, meanwhile, are best for low-torque applications.

It’s important to study up on the various torque-limiting devices available and choose the one that will not only keep your equipment up and running the short term, but operating well into the long term.

Kor-Pak offers a wide range of torque-limiting devices and services — and much more. Contact us today for information on how we can serve you.

Getting Proper Maintenance for Your Stromag Brakes

Getting Proper Maintenance for Your Stromag Brakes

Stromag brakes are built to last. However, even the best brakes still need maintenance in order to function correctly.

Improvements have been made over the years to make the maintenance as easy as possible. However, owners still need to know how to troubleshoot and make sure their brakes are running well.

Are you interested in learning how to get maintenance for your brakes? We’ve rounded up some tips for you below — read on to find out.

Keep Track of How Your Stromag Brakes Are Used

There’s no predefined interval of time for how often you should schedule maintenance for Stromag brakes.

Each site has different operating conditions, whether that’s because of weather, frequency of use, or other factors.

That means that you’re the only one who knows how often you should get your brakes checked out.

Stay vigilant to notice any changes in how well the brakes work. If you think that something isn’t right, it may be time for maintenance.

Check the Air Gap

One part of the Stromag brakes that needs to be occasionally checked is the air gap.

An air gap is just what it sounds like — a gap of air between the plate and the brake coil. As the friction lining starts to wear down, the air gap increases.

This can throw off the adjustment of the brakes.

How often the air gap needs to be checked depends on how you’ve been using your brake. Take a look back at your manual for how many millimeters the air gap should be — it varies depending on the model.

If you see the friction lining starting to wear down, don’t operate your brakes again until you’ve reset the air gap.

Don’t Overheat Your Brakes

To prevent needing maintenance too often, be careful not to overheat your brakes.

No matter what brand you use, heat is the mortal enemy of brakes.

When your brakes are overheated, the safety of your equipment is at risk. Overheated brakes can’t do their job.

Overheating causes “fading,” which is when your brakes are really in trouble. If you notice that you have to depress the brake pedals harder than usual, or if it’s taking longer to brake, your brakes are faded.

Prevent this by not putting too much stress on the brakes.

Change The Brake Fluid

This is an easy one to forget about. Most people don’t really think about brake fluid during their day to day operations.

However, brake fluid is an important part of how your brakes operate.

If you don’t change the fluid, it’s more likely to boil under stress. (This goes along with making sure not to overheat your brakes.)

Old brake fluid can also attract moisture. Too much moisture introduces a risk of metal corrosion — which could spell disaster.

You should make sure to change the fluid every two years or so, or as often as recommended for your specific model.

Need More Help?

These are a few ways that you can handle the maintenance of your Stromag brakes on your own. If you’d prefer to have someone else handle it, however, we’ve got you covered.

Check out our brake repair and reline services, or get in touch to find out how else we can help!