steel

What To Look for when Purchasing Skid Ster Grapple Attachments

So you decided the next attachment for your skid steer will be a grapple. Great idea! However, before making that purchase there are many things to consider. These attachments are primarily for picking up and clamping down on material such as boulders, brush, trees, or scrap material, and moving them to the desired location and dumping. They are popular attachments in almost any industry like landscaping, demolition, forestry, and recycling centers. Below we will go over the many grapple options on the market today and what to look for when matching up the one to your machine.

The first thing you will want to decide is which type of grapple is best for the applications you will be confronted with. The most popular of all these attachments is the grapple bucket. This bucket is just like its name, a skid steer bucket with hydraulic grapples attached. These ones may or may not have sides. Some of the buckets have bolts on the sides to give you the best of both worlds. They are widely used for storm cleanup, recycling centers, and scrap yards. They can pick up and secure material and move without spilling any debris.

Image source: stingerattachments.com

Next, let’s talk about a root grapple. This one is shaped like a bucket; however, it has tines instead of a solid bucket. These times are spaced 6” apart and secured with reinforcement bars. It works best for moving brush or other debris. The times allow you to pick up the brush while allowing the dirt and soil to fall back to the ground. These grapples are especially used in logging applications and clearing brush. It can also be used as a rake by tipping it forward, moving forward with your skid steer while raking up any material on the ground. Once you are done simply tilt the grapple up and clamp down on its tins to pick-up the debris.

The third style is a rock grapple bucket. This one is again shaped like a bucket but has tines with 3” spacing. The tines form a valley towards the back of the grapple bucket to allow for large rocks to sit without rolling around. This bucket easily allows you to sift through fields picking up large rocks and securing them with grapples and allowing you to transport them to a rock pile. It can also be used in such applications as demolition and storm cleanup.

The last style is the grapple rake attachment. This style has rake tines that allow you to drive forward and rake the ground of material and then secure the load with your grapple for transporting to the brush or debris pile. Used in such applications as demolition or logging.

Image source: skidsteersolutions.com

The next thing you will want to determine is which size grapple will match up to your machine. If you are running a skid steer below 50 hp, you will want to run a light-duty grapple. If you are running a 100 hp skid steer you will want to run a severe duty one. You will also want to know your machines lifting capacity vs. the weight of the grapple itself. Subtract the weight of it from your lifting capacity to determine what kind of weight you will be able to lift with your grapple. Lastly, you will want to at least cover the width of your tracks or tires. For example, if your machine is 70” wide, you will want a 72” grapple. This will allow you to clear all the debris in front of the machine without running it over with the tracks or tires of the skid steer.

Once you have determined the type, and size of grapple attachment you want, the last thing to consider is the construction of it. Make sure the source of the grapple. Typically, you will only purchase those from well-known manufacturers made in the USA with USA steel. My reason for this is the consistency and strength of the metal, better cylinders, and consistent welds. Next, you will want to look for reinforcement. Does the grapple have gussets, wear bars, or other reinforcement? Do they have a heavy-duty mounting plate? These are all very important due to the type of applications grapples are used for. Look at the cylinders. Are they able to be removed in case of failure? A great feature to have is covered cylinders to protect from heavy objects hitting them. Where are the cylinders placed?

Image source: smithequipmentcompany.com

Typically, you will want the cylinders to be equally spaced in the center of the grapple tines in grapple buckets, root, and rock grapples. Many manufacturers don’t like this step and put the cylinders towards the outside of the grapple tine. The problem with this is that they can be more easily damaged in that position. Make sure it comes with hoses and couplers. A nice feature is to have the hoses run internally on the grapple keeping them away from any pinch points. Some of them have hose spring savers. These also work to keep the hoses away from pinch points. Check to see if there are areas to add grease to the grapple pivot points. This will allow for optimal performance and stop metal on metal wear.

Right now, I am writing this article during the hurricane season. A popular storm clean-up attachment is a grapple bucket. With the power of a skid steer and a hydraulically operated grapple attachment, the operator can clean up trash, down trees, and other debris left from heavy storms quickly. This setup is the main form of cleanup after storms. These machines can get into areas that were affected the worst quickly to start the cleanup process. This is a blessing to individuals affected by hurricanes as it is the first step in the rebuilding process.

Grapple attachments are handy tools to make easy work in many applications. I hope the above article will help you make the best choice for your next investment in a grapple.

European Steel Production: Timeline, History, and Important Milestones

Steel was invented about 4000 years ago with the rise of the Iron Age. It was thought that Iron was harder than Bronze and many other metals a reason why they chose to look for another alternative. This is the reason why steel started to suppress bronze in the tools and weaponry industry.
However, the quality of the steel produced would depend entirely on the availability of ore and the production methods at hand. Although this time, there were no advanced technologies in the iron production industry, the production was increasing with the invention of new methods of mining and understanding of the iron. Modern-day technologies allow steel to be refined and molded down to bars, tubes, and more, which you can view more on onlinemetalsdepot.com.
By the 17th Century, most people in Europe had understood the concepts of mining and iron. This increased after the first civilization. There was also a huge increase in demand for steel in Europe, which means they would toil to produce more of it.

Image source: ceramicindustry.com

Though, the most breakthrough in the steel industry was seen in the 19th century with the second civilization. This was in 1850 when Henry Bessemer designed another method of using oxygen to reduce the content of carbon in iron.
The Chinese were already using the blast furnaces as early as the 6th century. This was not widely used in Europe, but later the same was diffused to other countries. When this technology hit Europe, there was an increase in the production of cast iron.
Before the advancements that we say in the 1860s, steel was not a big deal because it was made in small quantities and was specifically used in making tools, swords, and cutlery.
By this time, England and Germany were the centers of production. It was centered around Middlesbrough and Sheffield. Britain was the largest producer supplying all the other markets, including Americans and the European markets.

The open health operations and the Bessemer were the things that contributed significantly to the production of steel. The Bessemer process means that the molten pig iron is converted into steel by simply blowing air through it after it comes from the furnace.
The air will help to burn the carbon and silicon out. This is actually what released the heat and made the temperatures increase. Henry Bessemer demonstrated this technology in 1856. A few years later, the process was successful, and many miners had already turned to it. That is the reason why this technology was being used by 1870 to make the ship plate.

As a matter of fact, the speed, weight, and quantity of railway traffic were limited by the strength of the wrought iron rails that were being used. You would expect that all these were expensive, but because of the Bessemer technology, they were competitive in the price.
The experience made people realize that the steel had more strength and was able to withstand the whole process a reason why it was used widely after this.

Open-Hearth Furnaces Technology

Image source: youtube.com

By the 1890s, the Bessemer technology was being gradually replaced by the Open Hearth steelmaking. By the mid-20th century, this was no longer in use.
The Open Hearth furnace technology was introduced in the 1860s in France and Germany. This technology used pig iron, ore, and scrap to make the steel. This is why the whole process started being referred to as Siemens Martins’s process.
The good thing with this step is that it allowed closer monitoring of the composition of the steel. Additionally, a substantial quantity of scrap could be included in the charge.
This process was essentially the most used in the 20th century for making steel.

The Electric Arc Furnace

This was the technology that came to replace Open Hearth Steelmaking in the 1900s. The technology was preferred because many steel manufacturers believed that it was very efficient and made the whole process easy. The primary reason why this was adored is that the cost of electricity remained down.

Steel in Britain

Image source: uk.reuters.com

In the 19th century, Britain was the first country in Europe that contributed significantly to the industrial revolution. The country had an early commitment to coal mining, textile mining, railway, and machinery.
The main reasons why Britain was among the topmost influential steel producers is because of the demand, the ample capital, and eventually energetic entrepreneurs.
Britain accounted for about 47% of all the steel that was produced by 1875. A third of this pig iron came from the Middlesbrough area contributing to about 40% of the steel produced. Most of the steel produced by this time was being exported to the US. This is because the US was rapidly growing its railways and other infrastructures.
Two decades from this time, the British share had already dropped to 29% of pig iron. Very little of the steel was being exported to the US. What this means is that Britain lost it’s American Market, and other countries started to peak and get a share of that market. The US also was able to produce more of its own iron, which was at per the main producers.

Germany

Germany was also another country that also had major milestones in the steel industry. The Ruhr Valley acted as the main source of German iron and the steel industry. What this means is that this country was among the biggest contributors to the iron industry.
In 1850 the Ruhr had about 50 Ironworks with about 2,813 full-time employees. In the country, the first modern Furnace was built in the 1840s.
The rapid growth in steel demands was scaled by the creation of the German Empire. When World War 1 Hit in the 1880s, the demand for iron to make vehicles and many other things increased.
Other European countries, including France, Italy, and many other countries also contributed significantly. The market for steel in Europe has also increased significantly over the years, but China and India have already taken up the market. The steel market in this region is also promising because of the increase in technology and cheap labor.

Tariffs on EU, Canada, and Mexico Delayed For 30 Days by The White House

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It would seem that the Trump administration bite off more than it can chew and that simultaneous trade war with two of the country’s biggest trade partners is a bit too much. Who knew the international trade is so complicated?

The tariffs on steel and aluminum brought by the White House were to go into effect on Tuesday. A 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum would have an adverse effect on all companies exporting those products to the United States. Many nations who would have been affected by these tariffs have been frantically trying to secure an exemption, but so far only Argentine, Brazil, and Australia have managed to obtain them.

Source:wvlt.tv

The tariffs, which are coming in effect just as the United States are preparing for the upcoming summit with North Korea, may have an adverse effect on the relationship Washington has with its key allies in Europe, which are bound to be one of the biggest losers if the tariffs are put to effect. That is why this 30-day reprieve is a much-needed respite for both sides, EU to figure out the response and US to enforce the same tariffs on China. America is also in the middle of negotiations with Canada and Mexico on the new NAFTA deal, which could be jeopardized by the new taxes.

Source:10tv.com

The main reason behind the tariffs is that many companies are buying steel abroad and exporting it to the US, leading to a market flooded with cheap Chinese steel American manufacturers can’t compete with.

“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” the White House said.

That is why Trump’s administration has been offering exemptions to the countries willing to accept quotas on both steel and aluminum. EU, on the other hand, has stated that it refuses to negotiate under threat and that in case US tariffs go into effect after the 30-days reprieve period, the block will institute a set of tariffs of their own on American goods, ranging from motorcycles to blue jeans. Brussels will also join China in their complaint at the World Trade Organization, saying that tariffs are a violation of the international trade law.

“The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions,” the European Union said after the White House issued a reprieve. “The E.U. should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security.”

So far, only Washington’s major ally left out from exemptions is Japan. President Trump and his advisors have been hopeful of coercing Tokyo into direct trade negotiations, but Japan’s Prime minister has been quite adamant on that issue and have insisted that the only trade talks he is interested in are the ones about the United States joining TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), a deal Mr. Trump abandoned as soon as he entered the White House.

All these talks about tariffs and sanctions have left the markets in the state of uncertainty, which is already causing damage. Today’s news of reprieve has managed to stabilize things a bit, but if the reprieve remains temporarily, it won’t matter much once it expires.

The tariffs have even created uncertainty in America, as customers are unsure where to buy metal and at what price. As the traditional exporters are apparently going out of business, it will be on American steel manufacturers to pick up the slack, something that can hardly be done without a price increase. According to Todd Leebow, the president and chief executive of Majestic Steel USA, “From an industry perspective, the challenge that we have is it creates uncertainty.”

Some praise the measures, saying that they are working, like Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, who noted that “There’s some evidence that the approach is working.” The long-term consequences, both political and economic, don’t seem to bother Mr. Paul.

Source:money.cnn.com

In the meantime, the price of steel in Europe is hitting rock bottom, as companies from Russia, India, and China are dumping their stock on the European market. This can easily spell disaster for the European steel industry, which has just exited a 5-year slump and was showing signs of recovery.

“They are worried that another wave of imports could throw the industry back into crisis mode,” Martin Theuringer, the managing director of the German Steel Federation, said.

Source: nytimes.com