Manufacturing Jobs in the United States

Checkers provides manufacturing jobsIn a recent interview with Cheddar TV, CEO of Thomas Publishing Company Tony Uphoff discussed the challenges facing manufacturing companies in the United States. The manufacturing industry has long been a stalwart of economic development in the US and revitalizing it will be critical to continued success as a nation. According to Deloitte, “Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the U.S. economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates an additional 250 jobs in other sectors.” Clearly, manufacturing jobs are important for economic growth. However, as a country, we face several problems in our manufacturing sector. The skill gap is substantial and continues to widen. Deloitte estimates that “Over the next decade nearly 3 ½ million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.” That’s where the federal government comes in. Back in June, the president signed an executive order that increased funding for apprenticeships, increasing the budget from $90 million to $200 million. As Uphoff mentions, it is not immediately clear where this additional funding will be coming from. In The president’s own words, the apprenticeship program is designed to provide “…great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees.”

Uphoff also references another force working upon the manufacturing industry: technology. As technology advances and improves, its increased presence in the manufacturing industry becomes inevitable. Automation is being utilized more and more to fill the skill gap and keep business producing at a high level. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As Uphoff alludes to, automation creates new job opportunities. Not to mention that not all technological improvements are designed to replace humans. Some, such as Google Glass 2.0, are designed to be used as a tool for better worker efficiency. We here at Checkers are excited by the prospect of technology entering our workspace. Currently, we utilize 3D printing technology to reduce prototyping costs, but perhaps some day we’ll be able to 3D print a cable protector. In the mean time, we manufacture all of our cable protectors and wheel chocks the old fashioned way: on a manufacturing floor in Broomfield, Colorado, USA. To learn more about Checkers’ history and manufacturing processes, click here. To learn about career opportunities at Checkers, click here.

Gaffer Tape vs. Cable Protectors: Part 2

Gaffer Tape vs. Cable Protectors: Part Two

The Firefly Cable Protector is the only illuminated cable protection solution on the marketA few weeks back, we examined the cost of choosing gaffer tape over a Yellow Jacket Cable Protector. Today, we’ll revisit that analysis with another variable added in: The Firefly Cable Protector. The Firefly is a unique cable protector, in that it is the only illuminated cable protection solution on the market. This makes it the perfect safety solution for the entertainment industry, in particular, concert venues. Loyal readers of the blog will recall that when we discussed the gaffer tape vs. Yellow Jacket scenario, we used a hypothetical situation involving a local Colorado venue.

Being based in Colorado, everyone knows that Red Rocks Amphitheater is the best place for live entertainment during the spring and summer months. Typically, they will average over 100 shows per season. For the sake of this exercise, we’ll round that number to 100 even. Let’s also say, hypothetically, that Red Rocks has a cable run which is 100 feet long and includes five different AV cables. In scenario one, the venue manager will choose to use gaffer tape. In scenario two, the venue manager will opt for Linebacker Yellow Jacket Series Cable Protectors.

For this exercise, we will be adding scenario three: the venue manager will opt for Linebacker Firefly Series Cable Protectors.

  • Gaffer Tape
  • Price per foot
  • Price per show
  • Price per season
  • Price over 10 seasons
  • Gaffer Tape
  • $0.07
  • $35.00
  • $3,500
  • $35,000
  • Yellow Jacket
  • $85.00
  • $8,500
  • $8,500
  • $8,500
  • Firefly
  • $145.00
  • $14,620
  • $14,620
  • $14,620

There is, of course, one other expense not calculated in this chart: batteries. Each Firefly can run for 1,000 hours off of two AA batteries, which means 200 batteries will have to be replaced every 1,000 hours. If the average concert is 5 hours in length, then the batteries will have to be replaced every 200 shows. A package of 24 batteries typically costs between $12 and $15, so each total battery replacement will cost between $100 and $125. Depending on the frequency of shows at each individual venue, the cost of batteries can fluctuate further. Red Rocks typically hosts around 150 concerts per year, which brings their estimated battery costs for a 10 year period to $750.

In Part One of this exercise, we discussed how Yellow Jacket Cable Protectors provide additional value by ensuring cables cannot be damaged. Firefly Cable Protectors are made from the same high-quality polyurethane material that we use to manufacture our Yellow Jackets, and we even utilize the same manufacturing process. That means you can expect the same durability from a Firefly that you would from a Yellow Jacket, with the addition of extra visibility from the ultra-bright LED side ramps.

What is not indicated in the table is the added safety benefit of illumination. Illuminated cable protectors are highly visible, especially in dark areas, where traditional cable protectors are not as easily seen. Certainly, the Firefly is a premium cable protection solution, but it can prevent expensive lawsuits by avoiding slips, trips, and falls for both employees and patrons. More important than the money is the value of safety. Providing a safe working environment for employees and save venue for patrons is paramount and cannot be assigned a monetary value.

For more information about Firefly Cable Protectors, click here. To view the brochure, click here.

Chocking Procedures: A Step-by-Step Guide for Maximizing Safety

Monster chocks comply with chocking procedures for maximum safety.In 2016, the U.S. mining industry saw fatal accidents claim the lives of 20 workers, according to this MSHA report. These tragedies highlight the need for mining safety equipment, such as wheel chocks. Wheel chocks are effective safety devices when used properly. However, wheel chocking procedures are not always as straightforward as they may seem. There are several key aspects of proper chocking that may not be obvious to every user. We’ve outlined the most important things to take note of while using our wheel chocks, to ensure maximum safety for both workers and equipment. It is the responsibility of the end user to make the final determination about proper chocking of a vehicle under the circumstances presented. You cannot simply test a pair of wheel chocks with a specific vehicle on a specified grade and broadly assume that the wheel chocks will hold the same truck every time.  Countless combinations of conditions exist and this must be considered when selecting the most appropriate wheel chock for each application. Thorough testing must be completed at each location to ensure that specific wheel chocks will meet their specific chocking requirements.

Here are the combinations of conditions must be considered for safe, proper chocking procedures:

  • Tire size
    • Smaller tires require smaller chocks, while larger tires require larger chocks. To determine which chock your vehicle needs, click here to view our chock reference guide.
  • Gross vehicle weight
    • Heavier vehicles require larger chocks than lighter vehicles. Gross vehicle weight can be found along the Y-axis of the chock reference guide.
  • Level or grade of the ground surface
    • Chocks need to be positioned in different ways depending on if the ground is level or not. Ensuring that the chocking configuration is correct based on surface grade is paramount for proper chocking. To view a diagram detailing the different chocking configurations, click here.
  • Radial Tires vs. Bias-Ply Tires
    • Radial tires by design deflect more than bias-ply tires. While this flexibility allows the vehicle to move more smoothly, it also allows the tire to wrap around the wheel chock, which reduces the chocks effectiveness. To combat this, vehicles with radial tires should be chocked with wheel chocks that are larger than what the reference guide recommends.
  • Tire pressure variance due to environment
    • It is important to monitor tire pressure, especially in harsh environments. Improperly inflated tires can lead to chocking failures.
  • Condition of the ground
    • Whether the ground is firm, soft, wet, dry, icy, or frozen is a key determination in the type of chock to use. For frozen or icy terrain, choose a chock with a cleated bottom. For severely wet or muddy terrain, multiple chocks may be necessary to ensure safe chocking.

Diagram of correcting chocking procedures.The second key to proper chocking is the actual positioning of the chocks themselves. When chocking a vehicle, always follow these simple rules to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.

  1. Always ensure the chock is centered and squared with the tire.
  2. Position the chock snuggly against the tire tread.
  3. Always use wheel chocks in pairs.
  4. Wheel chocks must be positioned downhill and below the vehicle’s center of gravity.
  5. On a downhill grade, position the chocks in front of the front wheels.
  6. On an uphill grade, position the chocks behind the rear wheels.
  7. On a level grade, position the chocks on the front and back of a single wheel.

For a detailed diagram of how to properly position a chock, click here. In addition to to following proper chocking procedures, it is important to consider the material of the chock. For more information on different chock materials, click here.

Monster Motion Safety offers a wide range of wheel chocks, ranging from small to large models. Whether you drive a pickup truck or a haul truck, proper chocking is important and safety cannot be a compromise. To view our full line of high-quality chocking solutions, click here.