Promat 2005 welcomes 700 exhibitors covering 300,000 sq ft of space at the McCormick Place South exhibition centre in Chicago, Il. With average temperatures expected to be –5.5°C, it is a good time of year to stay inside and make some new contacts at the show.

The show is organised by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). A free floor-show seminar programme includes ‘Look Overhead for Safety, Productivity and Ergonomic Opportunities’, 3pm Monday, from MHIA group the Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA), in theatre C.


At the show, CM Industrial Products (310) celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Lodestar standard chain hoist. ‘Next time you’re hard at work in a manufacturing facility or relaxing at a rock concert or play—look up! Chances are a CM Lodestar is in place handling lifting and positioning needs. It’s been that way for 50 years,’ the company says. The current range’s lifting capacity runs from 1/8 ton to 3 ton in regular and an inverted (climbing) version for stage rigging. Each machine comes with Protector overload device and screw-type limit switches, tested to 125% of rated capacity and Hoistaloy load chain. Lodestar models with creep control allow precise positioning with a user-adjustable time delay. Lift speed ranges from 1.67m/min (5.5 fpm) for the RT 3 ton hoist to 19.5m/min (64fpm) for the 1/2 ton JJ model. Reeving ranges from one to three falls of chain. Single- and two-speed controls are available, as well as a model with motor-driven and low-headroom trolley.

Harrington’s booth (453) will include the 1/2 ton (450kg) LX mini puller, launched in October, which joins its smaller 1/4 ton sibling launched earlier this year. LX Mini Pullers are equipped as standard with nickel-plated, corrosion-resistant load chain and hook latches with safety tips. A free-chain adjusting mechanism and a rubber grip handle add to the operator’s ease of use. Additional load chain lengths are now available on both capacities. The stand will also show the year-old lever hoist which is ‘absolutely going through the roof,’ according to VP of operations Scott Miller. It is also showing a new control panel for its kit hoists. Miller describes the 721E control panel, packed with a pair of end trucks, as ‘no frills’ suitable for 4.5t capacity, single-girder cranes and below. It is also focussing on its one-handed electric and air hoists, available in 1/8 ton (113kg) and 1/4 ton capacity. ‘In the US we continue to see hoists replacing traditional manual lifting,’ he says.

JD Neuhaus (3475) is showing two hoists equipped with manipulators. Available in capacities of 125kg and 250kg, the devices can be controlled from the hook. It is also showing its Profi 2TS with new motorised trolley, and its recently-launched Profi TI hoists, available in capacities ranging from 2.8t to 14.5t and a 20TI with hand-geared trolley. It is also showing its EH37 monorail hoist with offshore package – 37.5t capacity. It is also planning to show its heavy monorail hoists, lifting capacity 18t to 90t, with 85psi air pressure.

Acco Lifting (463) is planning displays of its Wright chain blocks, lever hoists, Wright-Way electric chain hoists, Speedway electric chain hoists (capacity .9t to 2.7t), Speedway wire rope hoists (capacity .9t to 4.5t) and Work-Rated wire rope hoists (capacity .9t to 23.5t). It is also planning a monorail Display for its Louden single, double and truss-framed overhead cranes and Trambeam products. ‘We purchased Trambeam last year and this acquisition is very successful,’ said sales and marketing director Joe Gibbs.

Hu-Lift (303) is showing its line of manual chain block (500kg to 20t capacity) and lever hoists (500kg-9t), as well as its range of polyester flat slings (1t-5t capacity). The company sells 2,000 to 3,000 or so per year, according to Jason Guo, US branch manager. Still this equipment will take a back seat to the company’s range of pallet trucks, according to Guo.

WMH Tool Group (1570) is showing its range of Jet Equipment & Tools branded manual and electric hoists.

Electric chain hoists range from 1/2 ton (450kg) to 5 ton with up to 20 ft lift (6m). Manual chain hoists range from 1/2 ton to 10 ton (with four falls of chain). Lever hoist ranges from 1/4 ton to 6 ton (two falls of chain). Jet also markets air hoists with lifting capacity up to 1t. Other products include wire rope grip pullers, beam clamps, sheaves, hydraulic shop hoists, snatch blocks and winches, says material handling equipment product manager Andy Mekstan.

The hoists are made in China and Japan to the company’s specification. ‘People who say that Chinese products are poor have no idea what’s going on in the market,’ he says. ‘That’s not opinion – that’s from 20 years of experience travelling there,’ he adds.

Although owned by Columbus McKinnon, Coffing Hoists has its own stand (2332). Recently launched is its JLC range of electric chain hoists. Capacities range from 1/8 ton (113kg) to 1.8t. Standard features include multiple disc motor brake, overload clutch, adjustable limit switches and five-pocket load sheave. Coffing also has a range of $500 light-duty hoists, the EMC and EMW models. Two EMC single-fall chain models have rated loads of 300 and 500 lb (225 kg); the 500 lb-capacity EMW has two parts of wire rope. All three hoists are 115V, single-phase only, weigh less than 25 lb, have limit switches, and 10ft (3m) of lift.

Industrial equipment manufacturer Wesco (3872) has a product range that includes gantry cranes, hoists and manual trolleys. Gantry cranes have load capacities of 1 ton to 3 tons and measure 12’ 6” long (3.8 m). Adjustable height models range from 9’ to 15’ depending on model. Wesco’s manual chain hoists range from 1 ton to 10 ton and come in 10’ and 20’ lift heights. Swivel hooks with latches are standard on all models. The company’s manual I-beam trolleys have capacities from 1 ton to 10 ton. Wesco also makes vertical clamp drum holders, side-clamp vertical drum holders, economy hoop-type holders, horizontal drum slings, and drum lifter/dispensers.

Ingersoll-Rand is showing its range of manual and powered hoists (4269) made in the US and the UK. It makes lever hoists to 6t capacity, manual wire rope ratchet pullers and manual chain blocks up to a massive 20t on eight falls of chain. The company also sells electric chain hoists in a small-capacity range, the Quantum, to 5t, and air chain hoists to 21t capacity in the Ultra-Lo series. It also sells two other ranges of air hoists – the MLK, MLKS and HLK series and the Palair range, as well as trolleys.

L&H Hoists (206) is showing its range of Chinese chain blocks, lever hoists and other material handling products. Lever hoist capacity ranges between 250kg and 9t on three falls of chain. New products include a 500kg lever hoist with two needle bearings on the load chain sprocket to smoothen hoisting motions. Chain blocks range from 250kg to 20t lifting capacity, with one to eight falls of chain.

J-Lifting Equipments (sic) is showing its range of hand pullers, chain blocks and other material handling products (248). Chain blocks range from 250kg to 10t (on four falls of chain). Lever hoists range from 750kg to 9t capacity. It also markets a chain block on manual trolley with capacities of 500kg to 5t.

Whiting Corporation (5134) manufactures custom designed and pre-engineered overhead and gantry cranes for all types of indoor and outdoor applications. Capacities are up to 540t for a single hook and may be cab, floor or remote controlled. Whiting has over 120 years of manufacturing experience in providing dependable capital equipment for a wide variety of applications.


Spanco (2572) is showing off its range of light monorail workstation-sized bridge cranes, jib cranes, gantry cranes and fall protection systems. The company boasts 550 standard gantry crane models (in four styles), 7,800 models of jib cranes and hundreds of enclosed track workstation bridge crane models.

Canadian firm O’Brien Installation (137) is looking to find US dealers to fill pockets of demand. It is also promoting its jib cranes up to capacities of 9t. Competing with Gorbel and Spanco, the company uses German Vetter jibs. As of mid-November it was completing one of its biggest-ever orders, for 44 6.8t capacity jib cranes to Massachusetts-based dealer North American Industries for a US military tank refurbishment factory in Colorado. The motorised cranes have 5m of boom and hook height of 4.5m. The company also builds bridge cranes, supplying hoists from Street of the UK.

Bunzl Packers Kromer (4208) is showing the Kromatic, an electric assist device with 145 lb (65kg) capacity. It is available with 110V or 220V power supply. The company distributes a range of spring-based tool balancers with capacities ranging from 1 lb to 220 lb (100kg).

Positech (659) is showing its range of end of hook tooling for manipulators. Of particular interest is a new wheel handling tool developed over the last few months.

Below the hook

Bradley Lifting Equipment (129) is showing some of its below-the-hook lifting attachments. The 30-year-old company, which custom-makes every product, has 8,000 designs on file. ‘Most are lifting bulk materials,’ says spare parts manager Ron Nowicki. It makes lifting beams, telescoping coil grabs, vacuum lifters, tongs, C-hooks, grab drives, rotating units and other lifters mainly for the aluminium industry, he adds.

Morse Manufacturing Company (341) is showing off its range of drum handling equipment, including below-the-hook range made in East Syracuse, New York.

Schmalz (348) is showing its range of vacuum handling systems for lifting loads from 20 lbs to 5,000 lbs. New products include a suction pad that can grip delicate loads such as printed circuit boards with minimum contact.

Inter Comp (360) offers all sorts of weighing technology. It has three ranges of crane scales, the CS1500, CS3000 and CS5000, that go from 150kg (estimated price $1,600) to 45t (estimated price $17,000). It also offers tension links and dynamometers from 250kg ($1,200) to 250t ($16,000). The company also offers axle scales, lift truck scales and other industrial weighing products.


Power supply company Vahle (1859) is showing is range of conductor systems, festoons, contact systems and data transmission systems. It will also have samples of its new aluminium and stainless steel conductor systems.

The U-S Safety Trolley Division of Universal Electric Corp is showing off its crane electrification products (2260). Its crane range includes the Tri-Bar, Four-Bar and Span-Guard continuous electrical conductors. The company is also showing the PowerGlide PVC-section conductor which features a trolley that can be detached at any point along its length.

Colfax Power Transmission (2261) is showing products from its three main subsidiaries: Boston Gear, Warner Electric and Formsprag Clutch. Boston Gear offers gearboxes, variable frequency drives, clutches and bearings.

The name of Insul-8 Corporation (4606) comes from the figure-eight shape of the profile of its first bar developed in the 1940s, a version of which it continues to make today. It also markets the Safe-Lec 2 v-contact bar whose collector shoe is guided by the bar, not the cover. It is available in current capacities of 60A-400A.

Remote controls

Cattron-Theimeg’s stand (425) is focussing on the two lines of remote controls recently purchased by the company, industrial remotes firm Remtron – acquired in November – and railroad controls company Beltpack. The Remtron product range takes the company into competition with low-end standard crane remote controls. The company is also promoting its range of laser-based collision avoidance systems launched early this year. The system can sense a potential collision and send a signal to controls to override the commanded motion and stop or slow down the crane. The system has a resolution of a tenth of a millimetre, according to a spokesman.

Pix: remtronfam300 4×5.jpg, LCAS 3_4 300dpi.jpg

HBC Radiomatic (1071) is showing its range of radio remote controls. The company has launched a new version of the Cubix transmitter with single-step buttons. Start/Horn and Stop are still achieved as 2-step pushbuttons. The company has also launched a frequency manager that searches for free transmission channels for radio remote controls.

Hetronic USA (350) is launching the H-Link, which allows users to wirelessly customise transmitters and receivers with a Pocket PC handheld computer. The company is also pushing hard on marketing its own products in the wake of main distributor Magnetek’s purchase of Electromotive Systems. Now it is focussing on price in order to gain market share, explains executive vice president of Hetronic USA, Torsten Rempe. ‘We want to be very aggressive,’ Rempe says. ‘The only thing we can do is put the pricing at the level of the Asian competitors,’ he says. For example, it is selling a three-motion two-speed Ergo overhead crane remote control for $600-$700, Rempe says.


Unified Industries (2275) is showing its ranges of extruded aluminium enclosed monorail for light cranes, and its steel track. From two free-standing units, it is hanging bridge cranes made from its three varieties of aluminium rail, the ETA 4, ETA 8 and X-rail. The latter was introduced about a year ago, and allows 20%-30% heavier loads, says sales engineer Steve Drohn.

Knight Industries (1051) is showing its range of rail. Its aluminium rail comes in 4 inch (105mm), 8 inch (203mm) and 8 inch anti-kick up profiles (the latter for side loading). Steel rail is available in 4 inch, 6 inch and 7 inch profiles. It also sells load trolleys and manipulators.


Although it is not planning on having any hardware at the show, C&D Robotics will still be promoting its range of gantry robots on its stand (123).

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (162) is launching the overhead crane operator certification programme developed in conjunction with the Crane Manufacturers’ Association of America. It is modelled after the organisation’s influential mobile (construction) crane certification programme.

TGW (4527) is demonstrating a Miniload crane with the company’s Twister load handler. The crane will be storing and retrieving cartons and totes from vertical post and beam shelving.

Industrial sensor vendor Sick (1014) is showing off its new distance measuring sensors, among other more conveyor-based products. Sensors such as the DME 5000, launched at NA 2004, are used for collision-avoidance systems.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems (3016) offers a range of load cells from single-ended beams, double-ended beams, single point, s-beams, compression canisters and other sensors. It also offers remote displays and a range of Eilon Engineering crane scales.

Shepard Niles (2077) continues to maintain and service heavy-duty hoists made under the famous 125 year-old branding, though the company was reborn a few years ago. The company also makes replacement parts to the original designs and rebuilds hoists.


The big draw at Power Electronics International’s stand (2919) is its new AC vector drive, the Micro-Speed Multi-Vector MV series drive. The drives fit new and older hoists without load brake and feature internal braking electronics with external resistors and a pre-set operation programme called Gang-Set. Launched this year, the drive complements the company’s range, which includes the CX, a non flux-vector variable speed drive, and a smaller drive, the MSM Smartmove.

Danfoss North America Motion Controls (1153) is showing off its range of variable-frequency motor drives. Star of the show will be the company’s new FC 302 automation drive, launched in 2004 and destined to replace the VLT 2800 and VLT 5000 over the course of 2005 as models up to 1,000hp are rolled out – as of early December, power up to 10hp (7.5kW) is available. John Lesnick, material handling area manager, says that the control is so named because it can do lots more than just pulse-width modulation.

Baldor Electric Company (2540) is showing its range of AC and DC motors and adjustable speed drives. Baldor makes these products at 15 US plants and sells them in the US through 40 sales offices/warehouses in North America and 25 offices serving international markets.

Rockwell Automation (2343) subsidiary Allen Bradley makes a range of drives branded PowerFlex geared for motor control applications ranging from low to medium voltage. Power rating ranges from 0.2 kW (0.25 hp) to 6,770 kW (9,000 hp). The drives come in two forms: component class drives for cost-effective motor control geared for machine-level and stand-alone applications and higher-end architecture class drives.