Category Archive: News and Events Post

Trends in the Aerospace Industry

An industry doesn’t move forward without innovation. It doesn’t progress without people coming forward and challenging the status quo as a means of advancement and progression. That’s currently occurring at an unprecedented pace in the aerospace industry, as innovation and ingenuity is leading to better prototyping and manufacturing, better performance in aircraft and, ultimately, a better end product in the sky.

With that being said, here’s a look at some of the biggest trends that are moving the aerospace industry forward:

  • 3D printingNASA Orion Spacecraft

Also known as “additive manufacturing,” 3D printing is a manufacturing process that builds parts from the ground up, layer-by-layer. Once best utilized solely for the rapid prototyping of parts to test for form, fit and function prior to manufacturing runs, 3D printing has advanced to the point where it can now satisfy a variety of tasks. Most in the aerospace industry are using 3D printing to quickly fabricate complex prototype parts, but Boeing, for instance, is actually using the technology to create replacement parts for aircraft.

  • Eco-friendly flying

Reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy are being taken seriously on the ground in the auto industry – and the aerospace industry is paying more attention to this, too. Lighter aircraft are being developed, alternative fuels are being experimented with and various new engine technology is being integrated to reduce emissions in the sky, just to name a few.

  • MRO services

Maintenance, repair and operations, or MRO, is increasingly being outsourced to third-party specialists. Why? It’s because the airlines, who are mostly responsible for MRO, are putting more emphasis into their core business of passenger transport and choosing to leave these important, yet non-core tasks, to specialists who are more qualified.

  • STEM programs

The aerospace industry is only as good as the people that make it up. And more and more students are becoming interested in this booming field – and more and more educational entities and curriculums are following suit to meet this demand. A STEM program was recently started in the greater Los Angeles area, with a goal of helping middle schoolers and high schoolers get acquainted with real-world math and science applications, similar to those they would encounter in aerospace. Additionally, some 65 aerospace programs exist in higher education settings nationwide – 25 of which are standalone programs. Aerospace is currently the third most popular field for engineering students.

  • Individual jet packs

Seemingly straight out of the 1991 movie The Rocketeer, individual jet packs are becoming increasingly popular in aerospace. Take the Martin Jetpack or the “Body Jet,” for instance – personal flying might still be a ways off, but it appears that it could make the change from pipe dream to reality sooner rather than later.

The aerospace industry itself is evolving and growing – and American Crane is no exception to this trend. The developer of the Custom Underhung Crane System for Boeing is another example of innovation and advancement in the industry. For more information on trends and innovation in the aerospace industry, as well as the role that American Crane is playing in it, contact us today.

Reduce Outage Costs with the Telescoping Jib Crane

Power plant outages are one of the leading causes of utility costs. In only one day, these outages can cause millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses. These outages are also made worse by the fact that they become more frequent and severe during certain times of year.

Telescoping Jib CraneAs summer approaches, energy usage is expected to dramatically increase throughout the country. This will inevitably place tremendous strain on the power grid, thereby placing a greater demand on power plants. This additional demand will increase the chance for unplanned outages, presenting a variety of issues.

Preparing for Summer

Companies operating nuclear power plants have certain procedures in place to meet the peak demand of summer. In order to prepare for heavy use, many times plants schedule maintenance and refueling outages during the spring season.

Plant managers are well aware that these shutdowns can be very expensive, since activities are brought to a standstill, halting all production, and temporarily freezing revenue.

The Nuclear Telescopic Outage Jib Crane

At American Crane, our expert and skilled personnel have decades of experience servicing nuclear power plants, fossil power plants, chemical processing plants, and DOE sites. Our team is specifically trained to provide crane and hoist support during planned outages.
Our Nuclear Telescopic Outage Jib Crane increases a plant’s material handling capacity to up to 10 tons and features full 360 degree rotation, telescoping boom, non-hydraulic design, and wash-down capability among many other features, helping to speed up shutdowns. This crane is also nuclear rated in order to ensure compliance with regulation 10CFR50 Appendix B for containment buildings.

Visit us today to learn more about how our Nuclear Telescopic Outage Jib Crane can expedite your planned outage, getting you back to production sooner.

Making it Happen for Women in STEM

Throughout history, women have played a significant role in propelling science and technology forward. Consider the contributions made by Ada Lovelace who is touted as the mind behind the concept of computer programming, or Hedy Lamarr, the multi-talented actress who contributed to the discovery of Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum; women have brought creativity, dedication and balance to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is why their underrepresentation in these fields is a major cause for concern.

Throughout history, women have played a significant role in propelling science and technology forward. Consider the contributions made by Ada Lovelace who is touted as the mind behind the concept of computer programming, or Hedy Lamarr, the multi-talented actress who contributed to the discovery of Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum; women have brought creativity, dedication and balance to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is why their underrepresentation in these fields is a major cause for concern.

The Current State of Women in STEM:

Recruiters from major tech companies lament the fact that when they scan resumes for a position of responsibility, barely 5% belong to women. Most of these women are well-qualified but present themselves as less competent than they are.

Studies have shown that women tend to rate their skills lower than their male counterparts. They are also less bold in their approach and do not believe in interjecting conversations with thoughts and comments which may actually add value to the brainstorming process.

It is no small wonder that gender diversity is a pressing issue acknowledged by Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and several tech-based conglomerates.

Notable Female Leaders in STEM:

Despite the challenges, many women have stood tall and claimed leadership roles for themselves. Names like Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington come to mind.

Closer to home, we are proud of the accomplishments of our own Executive Vice President Karen Norheim. Karen has made a name for herself in the male-centric world of overhead electric travelling cranes, hoists and material handling equipment.

She has been profiled by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce among other organizations for her efforts to promote participation of women in STEM. She regularly speaks about the importance of an inclusive mind-set where the future of tech is concerned, and has single-handedly increased sales and added innovative distribution channels to American Crane’s endeavours. Even at home, she’s always finding fun ways to get her nieces and nephews excited about simple engineering principles – like to how make a marshmallow launcher from everyday household items.

In honor of Women’s History Month, and the recently passed International Women’s Day, American Crane is issuing heartfelt thanks to ladies like Karen who are “making it happen” every day. If you would like to join Karen in bringing gender equality to STEM, find her on Twitter and see how you call follow her example as a promoter of women in STEM.

Are You Celebrating Engineers Week This Year?

From February 22 -28, 2015, people around the country will be taking part in Engineers Week. The event aims to increase awareness of the many ways engineers contribute to our lives, and teach people of all ages about the importance of engineering, and the need to get more talented young people involved in the profession.

At American Crane, one of our main priorities is making sure that the next generation of workers is aware of the opportunities available to aspiring engineers. We are constantly looking for ways to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and Engineers Week is another outlet for us to do that.

Here are some ideas to celebrate, courtesy of DiscoverE:

Volunteer – Engineers can volunteer their time at local schools to teach students about what they do and why it’s important. Having a real-life role model will usually encourage kids to follow in their footsteps, and gives them a chance to ask questions about the profession.

Open Your Doors – If your company has an engineering department, see if you can designate some time for an open house to show people what goes on behind the scenes. Let them see the equipment and how it is used, and if possible (and safe to do so), let them operate or simply touch the materials and machines involved.

Host a Lunch or Dinner – Getting the public excited about engineering is important, but so is celebrating the engineers themselves. Treat your team to a company lunch or dinner to show them that you value their work and appreciate all that they do.

Nominate – Identify a student who you think is making an impact in the industry and nominate them for the New Faces of Engineering – College Edition. Winners will receive scholarships as well as recognition. Applicants must already be members of one of the sponsoring engineering organizations listed on the website.

Girl Day – In addition to general Engineers Week activities, make sure to set aside some time on February 26th for Girl Day, which is meant to specifically reach out to young girls about the engineering field. In addition to celebrating with the ideas listed above, try reaching out to your local Girl Scouts and working with them on fun projects.

While Engineers Week is a great opportunity to get involved in boosting STEM education, the main goal is to start a conversation that will continue all year round. At American Crane, our Executive Vice President Karen Norheim is constantly finding new ways to promote industrial careers. She was recently profiled in The Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce’s Member Spotlight, and regularly contributes to industry blogs. And in her spare time, she even teaches her nieces and nephew about fun engineering concepts at home – like how to make a marshmallow launcher!

Unique Uses for Industrial Rigging Equipment

As big supporters of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), we’re always looking for ways to appeal to wide audiences. Many programs are now being incorporated into school curriculums that focus on approachable engineering concepts to get kids excited about hands-on careers. Whether it is robotics challenges, to coding events, to inviting guest speakers to discuss what makes a technical career so enjoyable; the methods vary, but the goal is very much the same.

But one often neglected option is showing how industrial products can contribute to creative artistic pursuits. Not every child will be interested in programming robots or building bridges. This does not mean they’re not creative; just that they apply their creativity to different things – like art.

From STEM to STEAM

Already, the shift to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) is becoming more apparent as more lessons diversify to accommodate different student interests and strengths. But can a subject like art relate to more industrial topics? Absolutely!

A perfect example of industrial equipment being used for creative pursuits is Columbus McKinnon (CM) rigging equipment bringing a hanging sculpture to life in Vancouver, Canada. The artist, Janet Echelman wanted to create an installation that would be suspended from nearby buildings. The piece weighed more than a ton, with 145 miles of braided fiber and 860,000 hand/machine made knots.

To ensure public safety around such a heavy installation, industrial rigging equipment was a must. In the end, CM Master Links and CM Master Rings were selected thanks to their superb strength.

Without access to heavy-duty equipment, such an impressive art installation would not have been safe or possible. This is just one unique example of how industrial technology contributes to making the world a more beautiful place.

For more information about how our products serve unexpected uses, feel free to browse our case studies online.

Technology to Fix America’s Failing Infrastructure

The New Year is always a time of reflection and self-improvement, but it’s also a great time to consider public sector improvements that are long overdue. Recently, much attention has been drawn to the declining infrastructure in the U.S. From roads and bridges, to pipes and other vital structures, the whole country is in a general state of disrepair.

According to a USA Today article, “Six states have 30% or more of their major rural roads with pavement in poor condition, and in five states, at least one-fifth of rural bridges are structurally deficient.” In particular, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in rural areas, with a quarter of them falling into this category. In the article, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation clarifies by stating that the bridges are not unsafe, but they will require significant repair and/or eventual replacement to meet recommended standards.

An article in The Week further examines the true costs associated with infrastructures that were not upgraded and cited numerous structural failures that resulted in avoidable fatalities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) most recent U.S. infrastructure report card, the country received a D+ overall; and with many pipelines and roadways nearing a century in age, this grade is no surprise.

But with increased attention drawn to this issue, it’s likely that improvements will start to be made. Roads and bridges are used on a daily basis, so it’s imperative to repair known problems and regularly inspect and maintain functional structures. Some structures are harder to examine than others, but there is equipment available to ensure that all sites are accessible to crews.

For example, American Crane’s bridge travelers are movable platforms that provide safe access to the underside of bridges for inspection and maintenance. These bridge travelers are crucial in providing a safe and effective work environment in an otherwise difficult to navigate location. There are self-propelled gas, diesel and electric powered travelers available to suit all needs.

Currently, American Crane travelers are being used on the Queensborough, Mid-Hudson and Thousand Island bridges in New York, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, and the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. Our project for the Mackinac Bridge included eight of the most sophisticated travelers in the Western Hemisphere, and featured telescopic platform extensions.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the applications of ACECO bridge traveler technology for your bridge project. Together we can improve America’s failing infrastructures.