Electrolift: How to keep aerospace customers happy

7 March 2023

A manufacturer of electric wire rope hoists reveals how it keeps its customers happy and coming back for more.

Electrolift is a US manufacturer of electric wire rope hoists. While it operates in several sectors, Steve Pilione, the company’s director of sales and marketing, says that a significant proportion – 30% – of its business comes from the aerospace industry.

The reason why the sector generates almost a third of Electrolift’s business is that the company has loyal customers who, according to Pilione, return “year after year” to buy new equipment.

One major client is US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, which Pilione says is particularly keen on Electrolift’s low-headroom hoist. He defines ‘headroom’ as being the distance “from the tread of the track to the palm of the hook”.

“A low-headroom hoist is for applications where there’s a lower ceiling where the hoist will be mounted. So there’s not a lot of room to put the hoist,” Pilione explains. “Or sometimes, [the customer has] to move loads over machines and it just requires a lower-profile hoist.

“We have a 3.0-ton hoist that we can get to below 15 inches, which is a nice, small profile… to operate in,” he says.

“We have one of the lowest headrooms in the industry.”

Electrolift also supplies hoists for Sikorsky owner Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace corporation.

“We do a lot of twin hook hoists for Lockheed Martin, where they’re lifting longer loads that need to be supported in more than one place. So, we have a hoist that has a two drums running on a common drum shaft so it lifts synchronously,” Pilione says.

“It’s another added safety feature, as you don’t have to worry about using two different hoists, [when] they may come out of balance as you’re raising and lowering them.”

He says that as well as providing indemand products, another reason why Electrolift’s customers remain loyal is because the company keeps a lot of its parts in stock.

“They like to deal with us [because] they don’t have to wait six months to get a repair part. Mostly, we can get something out within a day or two,” Pilione explains.

“We also do a lot of customisation,” he continues. “So if they’re not looking for just an out-of-the-box, off-the-shelf type of hoist, [we’ll] actually design something to meet their application.”

He adds that he believes that US customers also enjoy doing business with a fellow American company with a long, stable heritage.

“We’re very proud of the relationship we have with the aerospace industry, selling to companies that are making products in the United States as we do, because that has changed a lot in the last 30 years since I’ve been doing this,” he says. “I think they like the fact that we’re American-made.

“We’ve been in business since 1932… we’re a family-owned company and we’re the third generation of ownership…and our product line has been pretty consistent. We haven’t made a lot of changes to it – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft