Elm invests in equipment to make your job safer, easier and more efficient

By Tim Rzeszutek

Continuing to do the basics is driving growth and requiring us to keep investing. Working safely, doing business with integrity, providing timely high-quality service and continuing to evolve are the company values that have been and continue to keep fueling our success! Below is a list of items we have added with a short summary of why we have added these. As always, if there are items you feel we need we want to hear about them.

Have you ever popped open a manhole cover? It’s a safety nightmare when you stand back and look at it. Bad lifting posture, too much weight for one person to lift, but yet it might be more dangerous to do with multiple people, pinch points for your fingers, and then usually a fall hazard with the hole. With a complex medium voltage underground feeder pull coming up that would require removal of and placement of manhole covers daily for multiple weeks, the last thing we wanted was for someone to get hurt doing the minute task of opening and closing these covers. To reduce these risks, we added (2) more magnetic manhole cover removal tools as shown in the link below. Small dollars with a huge return. It removes pinch points, takes you away from a potential fall hazard and saves on your back. If you have a project with manhole covers and you’re not using these, you need to start.

ALLEGRO Manhole Cover Lid Lifter,660 lb.,Slvr (9401-25A) | Zoro

In one of my first tool articles, I talked about the frustration of getting a tool that doesn’t work or doesn’t work consistently. The last thing we want with a labor shortage is our skilled trades people doing tool repairs rather than building with them. That is what we found ourselves doing a little more than we cared to on our utility overhead line trucks. Fail fast and fail cheap was our mentality when getting into this type of work, but we have proven over the years now that we can successfully do this work and have a high demand by our customers for it. With new trucks running north of $150k we did not want to make these initial investments but have started to now over the past 2 years with the purchase of a new bucket truck and most recently last month with the purchase of a new digger truck. We owe it to our employees and customers to have a top-notch fleet and are hoping a continued strong economy will allow us to keep adding to it.

If you haven’t been to Cycle St in the past couple months it may look drastically different. We have expanded our prefab area, added a larger overhead door, installed a large outdoor concrete pad and installed a road. This expanded area will allow us to setup a larger engineering system for customer acceptance testing and allow us room to build our most recent endeavor of prefabricated skidded solutions. Currently, we are building two skids for Fuel Cell Energy with what we call their EBOP skid. EBOP stands for “electrical balance of plant.” This skid is similar to assembling an engine and transmission for bench testing prior to installing in a vehicle chassis. This will reduce FCE’s contractor’s on-site assembly time and will also allow the FCE team the ability to tune this assembly of electrical items in our shop with pre-commissioning activities, thus speeding up plat installs and startup. In order to build these, we have had to invest in some mag drills and heavy equipment skates to move these after assembly. Below are links to both.

M18 FUEL™ 1-1/2″ Magnetic Drill Kit (milwaukeetool.com)

Strongway Machinery Mover, 26,400-Lb. Capacity, 8 Rollers, Model# CRA-12 | Northern Tool

Finally, we added a few other basic tools based on your feedback and request. For driving ground rods, we added a Hilti TE-1000 and for rotation checking we have added a few more non-contact style meters.