Hoosier Crane & N.Y. Blower Create State-Of-The-Art Facility
Hoosier Crane and New York Blower Team Up to Create A State-Of-The-Art Manufacturing Facility
New York Blower manufactures fans and blowers for industrial and commercial applications. The 130- year-old business has operations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
In August of 2017 the company broke ground on a new 30,000 square-foot plant right next to its existing facility in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
In an interview with the “Business Journal” of Youngstown, Ohio New York Blower President and CEO Joe Centers said the project “should increase our capacity threefold out of this location. This project is very important to the future success of our organization. We see this as a growth platform for the company that’s going to take us into the next 25 to 50 years.”
Centers said the work at the new building would focus on large fans for heavy industrial applications such as steel mills, paper mills, cement plants and petrochemical firms.
The state of Pennsylvania provided some grant money and the local governments provided tax incentives and other funds to help make the new plant happen.
This $4.7 million project was not only important for New York Blower, it was important to the state of Pennsylvania and the New Castle area. With so much on the line New York Blower turned to a company it could trust to get the job done right. It hired Hoosier Crane.
The construction of large fans that weigh more than 20 tons requires significant sized cranes to move them around. New York Blower also needed the ability to rotate and turn the fan housing so that welders could have access to all sides of it. The company needed a safe and efficient way to do this on a regular basis.
New York Blower Facilities Manager Jason McShane says they’ve had difficulties in the past handling fan housings. He says they would sometimes use a single crane with one hoist, but that would require several workers to guide the housing into position. McShane says they were most concerned about the safety of their workers in those situations, but they were also worried about causing damage to their cranes that weren’t designed for this type of load-turning. If the fleet angle (the angle of the rope coming off the hoist) exceeded 4 degrees, the crane could be damaged. Another way workers turned loads was by using two separate cranes working in tandem. This method would require two crane operators and at least two spotters to make sure the housing being turned was in the proper position. Both methods were very inefficient and used cranes not designed to handle the extra stress of load-turning.
New York Blower also requested the installation of several jib cranes to assist workers with other functions associated with the construction of the new blowers.
There was also deadline pressure. Every job has deadline pressure to some degree, but given the magnitude of this project, that pressure was significant. New York Blower wanted the plant to be completely operational by the summer of 2018.
The Right Team: New York Blower already had a relationship with Hoosier Crane and was happy with previous projects and service Hoosier Crane provided. The question about who to hire to do this work was an easy one for New York Blower. They chose Hoosier Crane because of its fair pricing and quality work. They knew Hoosier Crane could get the job done efficiently. New York Blower and Hoosier Crane have been working together for more than 10 years. That relationship and trust would be critical to the success of the new plant.
The Heavy Lifting: Hoosier Crane would build three 20-ton cranes and three 40-ton cranes at its plant in Elkhart, Indiana and then have the cranes trucked to New Castle, Pennsylvania for installation. It would require tight coordination and management to have the cranes prepared when the building was ready for installation. It was a project in Hoosier Crane’s wheelhouse.
Load-Turning Capabilities: Hoosier Crane Chief Operating Officer Todd Cook and the Hoosier Crane team listened to the needs of New York Blower and evaluated what would work best. Cook said it became clear that R&M Materials Handling would be needed for the load-turning issues.
“R&M is a go-to solution for us,” said Cook. “They’ve done an excellent job with their load turning cranes and the quality has been excellent.”
Cook says R&M ships crane packages that include everything needed to assemble and install the crane quickly and efficiently. He said they worked with R&M to design load-turning cranes that would work for New York Blower’s new plant. R&M produced four 40-ton capacity load-turning cranes with the following safety features.
-a double girder trolley
-double-reeved rope hoists
-heavy duty wire rope
-a heavy duty rope guide
-a CID hoist monitor
-larger than normal trolley end carriages and motors
-extended wire rope fleet angles up to 15 degrees
For added safety and efficiency Hoosier Crane also provided radio control devices (Magnatek Flex 12 EX-AB) that would allow workers to operate the cranes from a safe distance and also give them the ability to move around for better viewing angles of the load while they moved it. These devices also allowed the workers to operate the trolley and hoist simultaneously.
((Diagram and explanation of load-turning cranes provided by R&M Materials Handling)
Load-turning cranes are designed to flip and turn heavy loads. The crane is equipped with two hoists to distribute the weight of the load and to make turning and flipping possible. The load is attached to the two separate hooks suspended from each of the hoists. (A and B below). Those hooks should be attached securely to each end of the load. To flip the load, hoist B lowers its hook until the load is completely suspended by hoist A. The load is then rotated 180 degrees around its vertical axis, reattached to hoist B, and lifted into the desired location
Cook says it’s very dangerous to use standard cranes for load turning, but many people still do it. “We’ve seen frames bend and we’ve had wire rope assemblies break,” said Cook. “People try to get the job done and they don’t realize that it’s almost impossible to turn loads safely without the proper setup.If you try to do it with a standard crane, you’re likely to damage the equipment or the load. And even worse you could get someone hurt.”
Jib Cranes: Hoosier Crane installed eight wall cantilever jib cranes manufactured by Gorbel. These 1-ton cranes are setup throughout the new plant and McShane says they are working well for them.
“Gorbel is another one of our business partners that we trust,” said Cook. “They have great solutions and they are a leader in the industry.”
Deadline Pressure: A project of this magnitude has many challenges. Hoosier Crane had to be ready to go with the installation of all the cranes when the building was ready. Timing was critical and the project required tight coordination and management while juggling the many other projects in which Hoosier Crane was involved.
Fortunately, Hoosier Crane has experienced and talented people in all of the critical positions involved in this job, including engineering, production, supply chain management, purchasing, and the actual installation.
“We needed a lot of things to go right for this new plant to be operational in the time frame we established, said McShane. “Hoosier Crane met all of our expectations when it came to the quality of work and the timing needed to get it done.”
New York Blower’s new $4.7 million, 30,000 square-foot plant is running smoothly, and it has been completely operational since October of 2018. McShane calls it a “huge success.” He says the cranes provided by Hoosier Crane and the load-turning applications from R&M have worked exceptionally well, allowing the plant to run even more efficiently than they expected. McShane also says the company feels great about the safety of the workers using the new cranes.
“We are so glad we chose Hoosier Crane to do this job,” he said.