The wheels of progress are aluminum … and pneumatic

September 26, 2013 at 11:42 AMRing Power

While his wife was distracted attending law school, John Stiefel built a furnace.

Not to warm their home, but to smelt scrap metal.  Built on a trailer, he towed it to scrap yards and converted aluminum scrap into ingots that could be resold for higher profit. John Stiefel

Now he melts scrap aluminum wheels and makes them into … new wheels.

“We have developed a proprietary recycling process that doesn’t damage or degrade the aluminum as we smelt it,” John Stiefel explains. “And that superior product can be used – unaltered – to produce new wheels.”

Stiefel has two companies in Dade City, Fla. Stiefel Aluminum acquires scrap aluminum wheels and smelts them.  Some of the aluminum is made into ingots for resale, but the rest is transported to his other company, SB Manufacturing, which produces aftermarket and “replica” wheels to replace damaged OEM wheels. 

“Customers were buying our ingots to make them into new wheels,” said Stiefel.  “Which made us realize we could do the same thing and skip cooling, transporting and re-melting ingot completely.”

Ring Power Partner

The foundry, Stiefel Aluminum, started as a Ring Power Lift Trucks service customer, eventually buying a couple of forklifts to move product and lift it into the furnaces.

With the addition of SB Manufacturing, there was the need to transport a crucible of molten aluminum to the casting machinery – to accomplish this, SB Manufacturing purchased a new Cat 12,000 lb. lift truckDamaged and discarded aluminum wheels are the raw material that feeds both Stiefel Aluminum and SB Manufacturing.

On the SB side, compressed air is integral. They use it to automate the casting, heat treatment and x-ray (quality control) machinery; it is also used to power the machining, polishing and paint line in the finishing facility.

To meet their compressed air needs, they turned to Ring Power Air Compressor Representative Jason Stone – who set them up as an “air over the fence” customer.

“Their needs were very specific,” explained Stone. “With the air interacting with molten aluminum in casting and also being used for high-quality finishes, they needed it to be very dry and free of

contaminants.”

To accomplish this, Ring Power installed two Sullair compressors, a 125 h.p. variable-speed unit and a 75 h.p. unit – both with receivers and desiccant dryers. SB purchased separate delivery systems – one in the casting room, the other in the finishing facility – that feature 3-inch piping with more than 30 air drops.

Transair aluminum piping was selected because it is resistant to corrosion, minimizing impurities and turbulence.  The system also features special fittings and valves that allow it to be installed and modified quickly.

“Plus, the product really looks great for customers – like John – who like to show off their facilities,” said Stone, who added that project is one of the largest Transair installations that Ring Power has undertaken. (Ring Power uses Transair piping at their own facilities.) 

a yellow robotic arm moves a freshly cast wheel from the casting machine into a cooling bath.

As an “air over the fence” customer Stiefel purchases the compressed air (at a determined pressure, temperature and humidity) from Ring Power – rather than the compressors and associated equipment. This arrangement allows Stiefel to avoid the typical headaches and cost fluctuations associated with equipment ownership, and allows Ring Power to control the other variables – such as maintenance, replacement schedules and equipment selection – ensuring both get the biggest bang for the buck.

How’d they get here?

Stiefel started his first foundry in 1992 in Ohio with the furnace on a trailer.  He sold that business in 2000 and moved to New York. He later he opened another foundry in Watertown, N.Y.

On a particularly cold day – while gathered around a furnace for warmth – his son quipped “Dad, there has to be a better place to do this.”  So on a family trip to St. Simon Island, Ga., they began to explore warmer locations.

They started by looking at scrap yards that could provide the raw material they needed (wheels).  There were some in Georgia, a slightly higher number closer to Jacksonville, but hundreds in Central Florida.  So they started looking near Tampa, eventually securing a location in Lakeland to “test the waters.”

Once he confirmed his process worked in Florida and the material supplies proved reliable, he started looking for bigger facilities.  He landed in the Dade City Business Park in the former Lykes Pasco Beverage plant.

The wheels are in motion

In September, SB started selling wheels – made from 100% recycled aluminum – and the casting room shifted to round-the-clock production. Additional casting machines are also being added. 

“We are competing with the Chinese,” said Stiefel. “And we can do it because our high-quality recycled aluminum allows us to control material costs. We’re bringing jobs and manufacturing back to America.  And customers tell us they love the fact they are able to buy wheels with ‘Made in the USA’ stamped right on them.”

As production increases toward the goal of one million wheels annually (expected in 2014) Stiefel Aluminum will phase out ingot production and focus exclusively on supplying SB Manufacturing with molten aluminum. Made in America

Stiefel Aluminum currently employs 25 (and expects to add up to 10 more) and SB plans to have 70 employees when they reach full production.

“Honestly, I didn’t need to do this … I had enough money to buy groceries the rest of my life,” said Stiefel.  “But how often do you get an opportunity like this?  To do something for your country? We’re bringing jobs back. I’m proud of that … every time I talk about it, I get a little choked up.” 

Posted in: Air Compressors | Lift Trucks

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You Can't Predict Emergencies. But You Can Prepare for Them.

August 29, 2013 at 3:16 PMRing Power

THERE'S STILL TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RING POWER'S OFFER!

BUY BEFORE OCTOBER 31, 2013, AND RECEIVE 5-YEAR CAT® EXTENDED SERVICE COVERAGE WITH THE PURCHASE OF A CAT GENERATOR SET.*

No business is immune to natural disasters. Even a temporary loss of productivity caused by a power outage can be devastating if you aren't prepared. Why put your business at risk? With Cat generator sets, you can trust that, when the worst happens, your  facility will be ready to reestablish critical functions in an organized and efficient way.

We provide:

Diesel Generator Sets (40 kW to 17,460 kW)

Gas Generator Sets (25 kW to 6,520 kW)

Rental Power Modules(20 kW to 240 MW)

Customized Power Systems

Premium Service and Support

Engineered to respond and built to endure, Cat generator sets and power systems will provide a reliable backup energy source for your business.

To learn more, click here. 

 

 

 

 * Offer good for qualifying customers through October 31, 2013 on select new models at participating Cat dealers. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing is subject to credit application and approval through Cat Financial. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Offer subject to change without prior notice.

Cat Extended Service Coverage (ESC) offers coverage beyond the Standard Warranty period. ESC offers protection against unexpected repair bills and a hedge against rising parts and labor costs by providing 100 percent parts and labor reimbursement for covered components, less any applicable deductible.

Posted in: Power Systems

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Pennsylvania State Police Gain a Real Tactical Advantage with The Rook

July 31, 2013 at 12:40 PMRing Power

After hours of negotiating with a suspect who was barricaded in a home, the Pennsylvania State Police tactical team decided it was time to go in.

Fortunately, the department recently acquired The Rook, an armored critical incident vehicle designed by Ring Power Corporation.

Utilizing one of the Rook’s strategic attachments the tactical team was able to safely approach the structure; protected by the custom built NIJ Level IV Armored Deployment Platform.

The Armored Deployment Platform, which can be raised up to 11 feet, allowed the tactical team to deploy officers to the roof of the home and gain access through a window.

"It was definitely a valuable tool for the department to have in protection of the troopers," Sgt. Barry Brinser, supervisor of the state police Special Emergency Response Team for Eastern Pennsylvania, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pennsylvania State Police are already in the process of acquiring a second Rook, to be used in another region of the state.

Already in use with many law enforcement agencies across the country, The Rook protects officers in ways traditional shields and vehicles cannot.

The Rook is custom designed with mission specific attachments that increase job safety, while also improving the ease and speed of changing attachments.

For more information, view The Rook brochure.

Posted in: Tactical Solutions

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A New Purpose in (Second) Life: Meet the Gyp-Gator

July 29, 2013 at 9:33 AMRing Power

So what do you do for a customer when nobody really makes the perfect tool for the job? 

Simple. If you are Ring Power, you  build a new tool. 

TECO’s Gypsum facility at their Big Bend Power Station was using another brand’s machines that were built for coal applications. They were doing the job, but not living up to expectations in ability or reliability.  So when it came time to replace them, they started looking for better options. 

Ring Power’s Tampa branch – just about 4 miles from the power plant – happened to have a couple broker-owned 834G Wheel Dozers from South America on their lot (awaiting rebuild for resale.)  Larry Purdue (Ring Power’s Vice President Service Operations Manager of Heavy Equipment) and James Scarpo (the Tampa branch’s Heavy Equipment Sales Manager)  saw this as an opportunity.

They approached TECO Fleet Manager Tim Muncy, and he shared his expectations and the job’s demands.

The result was a second-life rebuild with more than 40 configuration changes, by project team Scott Rajzer (FS Tech I), Pat Woolsey (Tech I), Bobby Curtis (Apprentice Tech) and Sammy Simmons (Assistant Manager). Many of the modifications were to address the weight and density of gypsum.

“Gypsum is up to 85 pounds per cubic foot, but all the other machines were made for coal, which is only 55 pounds per cubic foot,” explained TECO Fleet Manager Tim Muncy.

The hydraulic system was completely redesigned and an additional hydraulic tower added (because the job required scooping and lifting to move the material); weight was reallocated on the frame; the torque converter was changed to a lockup style (to lock the scoop and load in place while moving); the mainframe and wiring were updated; and finally the unit was fitted with a specially modified scoop.

“The guys over at Ring Power modified a 30-yard coal bucket down to 20 yards for us,” said Muncy. “They also added weight to the frame for better balance … I have nothing but good things to say about this project.”

Caterpillar provided engineering assistance on the project from the beginning to facilitate the equipment’s conversion from a wheel dozer to a scoop configuration.

The Gyp-Gator operator, Evaristo Hernandez of Moretrench (contractor for TECO) added “The new machine is very nice. Plenty of power … PLENTY!”

Posted in: Heavy Equipment | Service

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Ring Power’s Mobile On-Site Diesel Truck Repair puts Florida Drivers Back on the Road

July 23, 2013 at 4:14 PMRing Power

Can’t make it to us? Let us come to you. In addition to our 14 Florida Truck repair locations and 101 service bays, Ring Power Truck Centers offers mobile repair service for all heavy duty diesel engine trucks, buses, and RV’s.

Our mobile repair technicians service all makes and models. Kenworth, Peterbilt, International, Sterling, Freightliner, Volvo/Mack, Western Star, Blue Bird, Thomas Built —it doesn’t matter. Our highly skilled technicians can repair them all. Whether you’re experiencing engine trouble, braking issues, overheating problems, driveline trouble or something else entirely, our onsite mobile repair technicians can get you back on the road without you ever having to take a detour to the shop.

Truck, RV, Bus Mobile Repair All Makes and Models

Ring Power Truck Centers’ highly trained technicians have the diagnostic tools and troubleshooting expertise to handle all of your truck care needs. Our technicians understand how important it is to get you back on the road quickly and safely.

Check out our complete list of Mobile Truck Repair Services.

Mobile Diesel Truck and RV repair is available in the Orlando, Gainesville, Lake City, Tampa and Ocala areas.

To schedule a mobile on-site truck service appointment call:

Ocala - Alex Driver 352.840.6235

Orlando - Bill Hoehn 407.472.6239

Gainesville - Richard Jordan 352.371.9983

Lake City - Michael Crosby 386.755.3997 x1601

Tampa - John Duncan 813.865.2485

If you’re in the Ocala area, our mobile technicians can provide mobile 3-axle wheel alignment — reducing tire wear, component wear and improving handling. To schedule your total wheel alignment call Alex Driver at 352.840.6235.

QR Codes provide Florida Genset Rental Customers with Immediate Access to Product Information

July 23, 2013 at 10:08 AMRing Power

URL decals with QR codes were recently installed on all of Ring Power’s rental gensets. These codes can be quickly scanned, giving customers immediate access to product information.

Florida genset rental power

"I felt it was important for Ring Power to offer the QR codes to our customers and match the digital smart phone landscape we're living in today. Additionally, it's green and reduces the need to print manuals or instructions in paper format which become outdated and weathered, said Steve Ferlita VP of Rental Services for Power Systems.

With units ranging from 20 to 2000kW, Ring Power offers generator sets to meet any temporary power application. For maximum mobility, all units are skid-mounted on fuel tank bases or trailer/van mounted depending on size. Turnkey Services are available 24/7.

For more information, view Ring Power's Rental Power brochure.

 

 

Posted in: Power Systems

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Florida RV Repair, Parts & Service: Ring Power Truck Centers get you back on the road

July 19, 2013 at 12:43 PMRing Power

The last thing any RVer wants is to find themselves stranded on the side of the road because of a breakdown. Sitting on the side of the road hundreds of miles from home can be a scary experience and ruin your trip. 

With 14 Florida RV Repair shops, Ring Power Truck Centers is never too far away. With just a quick phone call to one of our conveniently located Florida RV Repair Centers, you can be back on the road in no time.

Whether you have a Cat®, Cummins or Detroit engine, our highly-trained RV technicians can quickly diagnose a problem and make necessary repairs to get you back on the road.

Our RV technicians are highly-skilled in RV chassis repair, RV transmission repair, RV brake repair; RV engine repair and service; and RV cooling system repair and service.

Because Ring Power is a heavy duty Vipar parts member, we offer a full-line of aftermarket vendor parts. RV parts are available with 24 hours.

Ring Power RV Repair Centers also offer complimentary electric hook-ups and lounge areas with shower availability.

 Don’t let a breakdown ruin your trip. For RV Parts and Service call 904-962-7883.

Posted in: Truck Parts and Truck Service

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Meet Ring Power's new Gainesville and Ocala Heavy Duty Truck Parts and Service Rep

July 16, 2013 at 10:20 AMRing Power

Ring Power Truck Centers is pleased to announce Mark McMillan has joined our team as a Truck Product Support Sales Representative. 

Florida heavy duty truck service rep

Mark will be responsible for providing Truck, RV & Bus Parts and services in the Gainesville & Ocala territory. Originally from North Carolina, Mark has called Gainesville home for the past 26 years. He most recently served as a fleet manager for Anheuser Busch in Gainesville. Mark is a 2006 graduate of National Auto Diesel College and enjoys all types of Saltwater fishing in his spare time.

Ring Power’s Full-Service Heavy Duty Truck Centers offer sales, parts and service for all makes and models across all of North and Central Florida.

 

 

               

Posted in: Truck Parts and Truck Service

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Tampa Company's Switch to Electric Forklifts Results in Increased Productivity; Lower Operating Costs

July 15, 2013 at 11:16 AMRing Power

With an aging lift truck fleet and increasing repair expenses, Tampa-based Corasential called on Ring Power’s Lift Truck team to perform a complete fleet evaluation.

Corasential recently turned to Ring Power Lift Trucks to lower forklift fleet operational costs.

Working closely with Coresential, the Ring Power Lift Trucks team carefully reviewed Corasential’s warehouse operations, fleet maintenance reports, and overall equipment health. By combining the equipment operations and productivity expertise of area Salesman, Joe Zevchak and the product support talents of Product Support Representative Jason Marmino, Ring Power Lift Trucks assembled a proposed fleet replacement to lower the cost of forklift ownership and improve fleet productivity.  

Because Ring Power Lift Trucks represents several leading forklift manufactures with varying operational and costs characteristics, we are able to offer a mix of equipment that best suits our individual customer’s needs.   In the case of Coresential, the Ring Power Lift Trucks team developed an initial fleet replacement plan, consisting of two Caterpillar E6000 four-wheel electric trucks and a Clark OSX15 electric order picker. 

Corasential had previously been running LP gas trucks and was leery of switching over to electric. Their previous experience with electric forklifts led to the impression of under-powered forklifts that saved time on operational expense at the cost of productivity.

If it were not for the nearly 20 year relationship with Ring Power's lift truck division, Coresential would likely have returned to their trusted LP units. Their trust in the Ring Power Lift Truck’s team and a demonstration of the capability of the Caterpillar and Clark products at the Ring Power's Riverview/Tampa facility convinced Corasential that they could go electric without sacrificing productivity.

Ring Power Lift Trucks helped Corasential increase productivity and lower operating costs with new electric forklifts.Coresential has now taken delivery of their initial truck replacements and are pleased with the productivity increases and how quiet the electric trucks are in the plant. Coresential is planning on additional replacements of LP trucks with Electric. The lower operational expense, improved productivity and safety of quiet electric has proven to be a big win for Coresential.  

Ring Power Lift Trucks is Florida's premier material handling equipment supplier, with ten conveniently located forklift facilities. Choose a new forklift or used forklift, to fit your budget. We supply forklift parts and service no matter what make or model forklift you own. We even design entire warehouses with new pallet racking.

 

Posted in: Lift Trucks

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FAMILY TRADITION: Secret to Varnes brood’s 50-year success story is family ties and hard work.

June 20, 2013 at 3:58 PMRing Power

The Varnes family knows logging. Florida pine sap has been running through their veins for nearly five generations. Varnes Logging Inc. is owned and operated by its founder, James Varnes, 76, as it has been since it first opened for business on January 1, 1965.

The first generation of the Varnes family to work in the logging industry was James’s grandfather, Bart Varnes. He pulled timber with a mule in the 1920s and 1930s. “It was a hobby, but he made a living at it,” James says. The second generation was James’s father, Julian Varnes, who worked in the woods for more than 40 years, right up until the week before he passed. 

It should come as no surprise that Varnes always knew he wanted to work in the woods. He started his own logging company in the middle of high school with $700 worth of equipment: a truck, a crawler tractor and, as he says, “half a chainsaw.”

Varnes explains, “My father told me that he could have given it all to me, but he wanted me to understand that nothing’s going to be given to you, you’ve got to work for everything in this world. And I was just too hard headed to quit.” That determination has kept Varnes Logging busy for nearly 50 years.

It has also fueled a new generation carrying on the legacy. Varnes’ son Darrell, 50, is the fourth generation of the family to work in logging. He started joining his dad in the woods when he was young, and as he got old enough, started working on the crew during summer breaks and after school. “He came up working, not running around with other kids but working– kind of like myself,” Varnes says. One can detect an unmistakable and well-deserved sense of pride in their family tradition of hard work.

Darrell started his own company, Varnes Timber Harvesting, in 1991. “When I started in the business, I wanted to borrow some money (from my father),” Darrell recalls. “He told me I could make it the same way he did: digging, scratching and clawing.”

Even so, Darrell did get his start with a little more advantage than half a chainsaw. He had a brand new Peterbilt for his logging truck. Today Darrell’s company, like his father’s, is also devoted to Caterpillar forestry equipment, running two Cat machines as part of its equipment fleet.

Branching Out

As a young man, Varnes remembers his father pulling a cross cut saw. In fact, that’s how James started learning the business. The next piece of timber cutting equipment they used was a power saw on bicycle wheels, as Varnes recalls. After that, the family upgraded to a chainsaw. The first tractor machine that Varnes remembers his father having was a small D2 Caterpillar bought from Gibbs Corp. of Jacksonville. As Varnes got older and continued to work for his father, he was allowed to be more hands-on, and soon learned to operate machines, starting with a Cat 10.

Logging technology has come a long way over the years, and the Varnes family has stood witness to all kinds of innovations in timber harvesting equipment. Recently, Varnes acquired three new Caterpillar machines—a 559 loader, 553C feller-buncher and 535C skidder—all purchased from Ring Power Corp. in April this year. His operators are pleased with the new pieces.

Josh Carter, the senior member on the Varnes crew, is the feller-buncher operator. He describes the new cutter as smooth and powerful. “It bunches the trees real good, and it’s quiet inside the cab,” Carter says. “I used to run a 553, but the C model is a lot more stable. And the serviceability is a lot better from the ground level – easier to fuel.” 

Mike Manning went to work for Varnes not long after Josh as the loader operator. Manning says there is plenty to like in the new loader. “It’s fast, it’s smooth, you don’t burn much fuel. Whatever function you need, it’s right there and ready. The new outriggers make it easy to level the trailer. It’s quieter, it’s got good power, smoother hydraulics, a better trailer.”

Newest team member Caleb Green runs the skidder. “Before I could get out of here yesterday, that boy came and thanked me three times for buying the new skidder,” Varnes chuckles.

Ring Power and Varnes are equally pleased with the ongoing relationship that account manager Todd Mattox has forged with the logging family. “It’s a partnership,” Varnes believes. “I want Ring Power to be there for me when I need them, and they are. (They are) a big outfit. They can afford to take care of you, and they always do.”

Adventures In Logging

Varnes started out swamp logging, and did that until about 1980. When asked why he left the swamp for terra firma, he answers, “Because nobody wants to go work out there! I’ve been standing on the bumper of a skidder in mud up to my chest – stuck – trying my best to get cables attached (to pull it out).” He explains that it took a full day of hard work just to get two full loads. He decided to make the switch when he realized some of his peers, presumably in less difficult terrain, were getting five full loads by 9:30 in the morning. 

Moving operations to higher altitudes didn’t mean an end to hard work—or to the adventures inherent in a life in the woods. Varnes says he has seen just about every kind of animal that Florida has to offer: snakes, alligators, bobcats, deer and panthers. Once he wound up raising two orphaned Florida black bear cubs until he could find a permanent home for them at Silver Springs Zoological Gardens. Beyond that, there was the time ran away from him going 40MPH—in reverse.

Callahan Timber

Even though James and Darrell run two independent crews, they both work with Callahan Timber Co. Inc., owned by William Cook and Jim Coleman. Varnes Logging and Varnes Timber Harvesting have contracted with Callahan for six years. Varnes figures that Callahan Timber has about 16 logging crews working for them. “They are one of the biggest outfits in the Southeast,” he believes. “Been around 75 years at least. We’re their most southern loggers, [because] they work on up into Georgia.” 

Both Varnes men are very happy with their partnerships with Callahan. James explains, “Callahan puts their landowners first; this is a good thing. They have owners with very large plots of land all over the Southeast. Their big landowner base keeps us rolling. They don’t drag around, they keep you working.” The Varnes Logging Inc. crew has worked all over the state of Florida on Callahan tracts—from the Georgia line down to Okeechobee and over to Ft. Myers.

For example, the acreage Callahan Timber contracted with Varnes Logging to clear in late April was a 200-acre plot in St. Johns County. The crew had been asked to leave 30 trees per acre. “Callahan does a lot of thinning work,” Varnes says. “Darrell’s crew just did a job for Callahan where he thinned 700 acres out of a 10,000 acre parcel.”

An equally important part of the Varnes Logging operation as the patriarch is its matriarch, Varnes’ wife. Affectionately known by the team as “Miss Jo,” Josette Varnes has kept the books for Varnes Logging since the early 1990s. “Those boys have even got me callin’ her ‘Miss Jo’,” Varnes smiles.

James Varnes has high hopes for the future of the Varnes legacy, because there’s a fifth generation on the horizon. If all goes well, he hopes his granddaughter Amelia, Darrell’s daughter, might join her grandmother in the bookkeeping side of the business. There is also Darrell’s son,Weston Varnes, who will hopefully help run one of the Varnes’ logging businesses one day. He is already out in the woods working with his father and grandfather whenever he can. And who knows? Maybe he will inherit more than a chainsaw for their company’s next phase of growth.

Republished with permission from Southern Loggin' Times

 

 

Posted in: Heavy Equipment

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