For many fleet managers and commercial truck owners, gross vehicle weight determines the class that their trucks may legally operate. The heavier the truck, the higher the class and the more restrictions are applied. Champion’s customers like the North Carolina Department of Transportation benefit significantly from a lighter class for shorter hauls using less fuel, and heavier loads are easily lifted without all the extra weight.
Stronger yet lighter scissor helps customers lift their business
Strenx® 100 XF is a thermomechanically rolled steel made for cold forming with a minimum yield strength of 689 MPa (100 ksi), or one thousand pounds per square inch. It is called high performance steel because it means that applications can be both stronger and lighter. Creative engineers can challenge the design envelope because it is made to meet specific guarantees for thickness, flatness and impact properties. Champion saw that by redesigning their scissor lifts, they could create a thinner, stronger and lighter model to give customers a true advantage.
“Awhile back, our specified steel for hoists mysteriously began to fail,” explained Pat Godwin, Sr., founder of Champion’s parent company, the Godwin Group. “While I investigated the issue, which cost me three major accounts, I uncovered inferior grades in our supply. We needed to make a change – fast. I was using a 345 MPa (50 ksi) minimum yield, but when I considered the properties of Strenx® 100 XF, I could go thinner and get a 100 minimum yield. I tweaked the design and we switched. My customers trust me, and in the end, two of those lost accounts came back,” Godwin said.
According Ryan Taylor, CEO of the Godwin Group, the original hoist’s design footprint was already extremely tight. With that all-important tweak on the schematics maximising the bendability of Strenx® 100 XF, Pat was able to flatten the main assembly and modify the scissor in a way that did not affect the fuel tank cavity or impact a critical triangular lifting equation. Some of the bracings also lost weight as shown in the comparison photos “before” and “after” the weight-loss. Not only did double-boxed wall assemblies go by the wayside, but the new design also reduced production costs.
Making friends in the workshop and with customers
“When we introduced Strenx® 100 XF to the shop, we cut our per-piece welding time in half, and for our team that meant more money in their pockets because our compensation structure is based on the number of pieces completed versus straight hourly production,” Taylor said. “Our press-brake operators also picked up the change seamlessly, and we didn’t need to recreate or modify our patterns, which was another huge efficiency gain on the production line. When we reduce labor costs, we’re more competitive and give our customers greater value.”
However, not everyone was immediately convinced that the new scissor lift design was better. Although it was a major industry advancement at the time, customers consistently challenged Godwin and Taylor that the hoists were not “beefy” enough and looked weak – even inferior.
“The perception in the US market was that it wasn’t strong because it looked so thin,” explained Taylor. “So to overcome their skepticism, we would simply ship them a hoist at our expense, show up to help them install it properly and then let them use it. If they did not like it, they could send it back at our expense, no questions asked. We haven’t had one returned out of the 100,000+ hoists we’ve produced since then.”
As members of the My Inner Strenx® program, Champion Hoist offers customers an elevated level of trust that their hoists are certified to meet the strictest quality control standards and highest published guarantees for high performance steel. When end users see the My Inner Strenx® sign of quality sticker on the product, they know it is made with superior steel and quality-controlled production techniques for their demanding applications.
“We are part of both brand programs from SSAB, Hardox® In My Body and My Inner Strenx®,” Taylor said. “Both are well known in our industry, so our customers are reassured that the products we offer are backed by a proven and reliable program.”
End users gain competitive advantage
Using Strenx® 100 XF gives Champion’s customers a competitive edge by increasing profits, reducing fuel costs, lowering CO2 emissions, extending overall service life and making the vehicle safer by using thinner, lighter weight steel. For example, every 4-ton commercial class 4 or 5 utility truck outfitted with a Champion Hoist scissor lift saves 2.3 tons of CO2 over its lifetime. That is equal to the carbon sequestered by 10.117m² (2.5 acres) of US forests in one year. In addition, the company increased annual profits by $1.768 by making the switch.
Engineers looking to improve designs or lead their markets with innovations can calculate potential benefits with SSAB’s EcoUpgrade app. Champion’s example of going from a 345 MPa (50 ksi) to a (689MPa (100 ksi) material equaled a total material savings of 57% and an 80kg (176 lbs.) higher capacity. Read SSAB’s EcoUpgraded Report for Champion Hoist and learn how to generate savings, or download the mobile app to run similar calculations and uncover the potential benefits of using a high-strength steel grade like Strenx® performance steel.
“At SSAB, we partner with our customers to remove pain, create a market-leading product and point out potential advancements by using a new type of steel,” explained Carl Wheeler, SSAB Special Steels Regional Sales Manager. “We do this through our local and global technical teams. No other steel manufacturer offers the level of technical evaluations and engineering guidance that we do. Our Knowledge Service Center team is dedicated to reviewing designs and suggesting improvements based on the global applications of our materials.”