Just two years after it first introduced them to the North American market, OTH Pioneer Rigging has already reached a milestone of having 600 remote-controlled LudwigHooks installed by about 140 customers in 40 states across a variety of industries, including steel erection, wood construction, metal building system installation, ports and terminals and overhead manufacturing, giving the company confidence that its goal to have 10,000 of these hooks installed throughout North America by 2030 is a reasonable target.

Oliver Gleize, OTH Pioneer Rigging’s president, said that there aren’t many remote-controlled hook products on the market. “It is pretty much a new solution for the industry,” and the technology required to design such hooks are difficult to develop, he explained. But they do have a number of advantages compared with traditional crane hooks, which require workers to manually release the rigging from the load.

In fact, Gleize called it a gamechanger. Most notably, he said that remote controlled hooks allow companies to both save time and operational costs.

“In the past our customers had to stop their operations when their workers manually unhooked loads, which is something they don’t need to do when using remote-controlled hooks,” Gleize said, and he has previously explained that based upon customer feedback, crews that have implemented LudwigHooks are saving 150 hours each year on average by cutting the time it takes them to release their loads. Based upon an average operational cost per hour, Gleize said that this translates to an average of $1,900 savings per week, enabling most users to see a return on the investment within ten weeks.

This is because the traditional manual method, which takes up to five minutes to release the rigging from the load and to make it available for the next lift, costs contractors about $30,000-$100,000 per year for each crew.

Another big consideration is companies’ desire to prevent accidents and while increasing worker safety. “When you repeat the same operation thousands of times at some point it is likely that there will be some human errors,” which could be prevented by using a remote-controlled hook, Gleize said.

LudwigHooks, which were designed by a logger in Germany, are known for being compact, durable and versatile. They are available in two models: one that has a working load limit of 4,400lbs and its XL hook, which is rated for up to 11,600lbs. The hooks can be used in a choker configuration with wire ropes or nylon slings, any kind of basket hitch and with spreader bars or lifting frames. Users can synchronise an unlimited number of hooks on the same remote in any combination to achieve scalable lifting capacity.

Gleize said that currently about 20% of remote controlled LudwigHooks in use in North America are being used for overhead crane and hoist applications, but he believes that percentage could eventually increase to about 50%, especially as more companies become aware of their advantages.

OTH has been actively looking to educate the North American market about these hooks ever since they started offering them in 2021, starting with an eight-week long, 10,000-mile “road trip” across the US that year, as well as several presentations at trade shows and conferences since then. “We have had the opportunity to meet with business owners and field personnel that were looking for a new and efficient way of doing everyday tasks and the response we have been getting has been incredible,” Gleize maintained.