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Vance Haugen Featured on the Cover of Modern Material Handling Magazine?

Vance Haugen’s dream of being featured on the cover to Modern Materials Handling finally came true last month. Well sort-a!

Vance stopped by their booth during ProMat this year and the gang there did this mock up conveyor for him to take home and put in his office. While it’s not exactly the April issue, everyone here thinks you look great on the cover Vance.

The Differences Between a 3-Wheel and 4-Wheel Forklift

The Differences Between a 3-Wheel and 4-Wheel Forklift

Renting or purchasing the right forklift can be a confusing process. There are general assumptions about forklifts as people often think they do the same thing without realizing each type provides a different output and is made for different applications. While the 3-wheel and 4-wheel forklift have some similar features, they have some major differencing including the following.


The 3-wheel forklifts have a smaller turning circle from the 4-wheel forklift. This is a great option if you have limited space in the warehouse and need to navigate small areas. A 3-wheel forklift has a counterbalance that allows the machine to maneuver easily. It has a different balance feature, but the brand can alter the maximum weight load on some brands. A 3-wheel forklift is ideal for applications that require inside and outside use and rack loading. The tight maneuverability allows the 3-wheel forklift to increase productivity with its combination of counterbalance and under-clearance.

3-Wheel Forklift Details

While the maneuverability of the 3-wheel forklift can improve production, there are some differences. A 3-wheel electric drive configuration has a dual steer wheel mounted centrally beneath the counterweight. A 3-wheel electric drive is used for a lighter load application as they normally cannot have a load capacity over 2500kg.

A 3-wheel forklift is best for indoor warehouses with smooth surfaces. They excel in areas where you have small spaces. They are suitable for most industries as they are commonly seen in building warehouses, garden centers, and other places. You cannot drive a 3-wheel forklift over gravel as it will have a difficult time gripping the ground.  One concern with a 3-wheel forklift is that it can be less stable when you turn with a load.


The 4-wheel forklifts are known for being better for gradebility. Most brands have the same amount of power and drive system, but the gradebility of the machines are higher. This is essential for a company that needs to manage large warehouses to move heavy equipment and machinery around steep areas.

4-Wheel Forklift Details

A 4-wheel forklift has a single steering wheel on the rear of each corner that has a dual acting hydraulic ram. The 4-wheel forklifts provide better stability and it works well for turning with a heavy load. If you have a rougher yard area, the 4-wheel forklift will do better at moving the load to the right place. Most 4-wheel forklifts will be able to handle up to 8000kg. It depends on the brand of the 4-wheel forklift. Hardware stores and retail outlets often use the 4-wheel forklifts, but they can handle major needs as well like tool installation of dies, jigs, and presses.

A 4-wheel forklift is preferable for companies with large capacity needs and rough flooring areas. The downside to the 4-wheel forklift is their larger turning circle. This makes it harder to maneuver the forklift inside a tight warehouse space. The cost of a 4-wheel forklift is normally much higher than a 3-wheel forklift.

Selecting a Forklift

It is important to select the right forklift brand. If you do not have the right forklift brand, it can end up causing problems with load capacities and turning radius’s. Compare several models to find the best forklift option for your organization.

March/April Scrap Steel Price Trends

Comments provided courtesy of SteelOrbis

The Chicago Shredded Scrap finally posted down $20/ton from the prior month at $388/ton ending a long month of uncertainty and severe shifts in overall market sentiment. At one point in the last month, it looked as if scrap would “fall off the cliff” as mills were buying virtually nothing and demand in the market was non-existent. Then without notice, in the last week, the market reversed course stabilized and in several areas and grades even improved to reach where it finally settled. Much like the month prior, while there was not much demand for scrap, there also was no much supply due to the frigid winter causing collection problems.

Now that  petitioners were successful in levying a duty, watch for import prices to increase dramatically.  The anticipated surge of import to “beat” the April 18th deadline did not appear as dramatic as originally anticipated as few volumes being recently booked. Lagging sales in the last 6 weeks with the season and weather coupled with pricing that offers no new advantages have soured most big buyers appetites and nothing has been concluded.

Blame China?

Originally Posted by Katie Memmel via Steel Orbis

Although US Steel’s year of seemingly never-ending layoff notices isn’t news within the US steel industry, the trend has apparently caught the notice of mainstream news. In an editorial earlier this month, the Washington Post argued that US Steel’s downsizing is a direct result of the Chinese steel industry.

Again, blaming China for all the US industry’s woes isn’t news, but reporters with little experience in the industry who rely on corporate press releases and corporation-friendly news sources (such as the Wall Street Journal, which was referenced in the Post’s article) to make sweeping generalizations should be.

The most obvious argument against the assumption that Chinese imports are the primary reason for US Steel’s “pink slip spree” is to look around at other major US steel producers. Nucor, AK Steel and Steel Dynamics Inc. have not dominated the headlines with layoffs this year. Then again, with a few exceptions, Nucor, AK Steel and Steel Dynamics Inc. have reported generally positive quarterly results in the last few years, while US Steel has reported net losses nearly every time.

Miserable quarterly and yearly results were the impetus for the company’s Carnegie Way strategy announced two years ago, which seeks to streamline operations to become the most efficient US steelmaker, if not the largest. And part of this streamlining, naturally, takes the form of mass layoffs—the most recent, this week, includes over 2,000 employees at its Granite City facility.

That’s not to say that the global market has not been a factor—US Steel has idled several pipe and tubular plants this quarter  after plunging oil prices decimated pipe demand in the US, along with competitive imports of OCTG and line pipe from Korea and other sources other than China. As such, blaming China exclusively is almost as short-sighted as the Post’s proposed resolution to the problem: petition the US government for a dumping investigation, which US steel producers have already been doing for years.

US Steel’s layoff notices might sound lamentable, but the reality is that the company is doing exactly what it meant to do when it announced its Carnegie Way initiative in 2013. It’s unfortunate for the workers of course, but they might be able to do more than the Post’s directive to “figure out something else.” Namely, applying at one of the many US steel producers who aren’t purposely downsizing.


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Promat 2015 – Material Handling Equipment Show Images

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SJF named as one of Minnesota’s “100 Best” by Minnesota Business Magazine

SJF Material Handling of Winsted, MN has been named to Minnesota Business Magazines ” 100 Best Companies To Work For ” list for 2015. This marks the 3rd consecutive year SJF has been named to the list.

The “100 Best” were selected by an independent research firm employing various research techniques — including an anonymous online questionnaire filled out by the employees of each company — to determine which companies in Minnesota excel in the areas of work environment, employee benefits, and overall employee happiness.

The Minnesota Business team is pleased to share the 2015 list here.