Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, Blue Giant Equipment Corporation makes its customers’ operations hum by offering the best loading dock and material handling equipment. Lorie Greenspan describes how it keeps on top of trends by innovating and engineering new, more efficient products.
Blue Giant Equipment Corporation, which operates within the loading dock and material handling industry, evolved to the point where it brings ever better equipment to the market, substantially helping its customers by effectively identifying market trends and recognizing product development opportunities.
In the process, Blue Giant has become the premier solutions provider of safe, effective, and technologically innovative loading dock and material handling equipment. In its product line you’ll find dock levelers (including the industry’s first air cylinder dock leveler), ground-level lifts, vehicle restraints, intelligent dock controls, seals and shelters, and a diverse offering of material handling products.
The company, founded on May 30, 1963, quickly became a leading manufacturer of dock levelers and hand pallet trucks. In the 1970s, Blue Giant’s customer base expanded so rapidly that new product offerings – including electric pallet trucks and stackers, dock lifts and scissor lifts – were introduced to supply the growing demand. Licensee partnerships in Australia and South Africa resulted in Blue Giant dominating the market in both countries.
Other milestones included expansion of its primary manufacturing location in Brampton, Ontario – from 35,000 to 100,000 square feet – to handle the large influx of orders. In 1985, the company charted its path toward product innovation by introducing the TL85, the first non-impact vehicle restraint, to the North American market.
The company also expanded its global presence with licensee partnerships in Mexico and Southeast Asia. Demand resulted in high-volume sales, such as an order placed by the Singapore Port Authority for 309 mechanical dock levelers. In other areas, Blue Giant redesigned its industrial truck line to include ergonomic handles and a sleeker, more maneuverable body for the material handling market. The new trucks were easier to use and more compatible with tight spaces, making them a standard feature in busy warehouses and logistics centers.
New Product, More Growth
The new millennium has witnessed tremendous growth in new product development. In 2001 Blue Giant introduced the XDS Extra Dock Safety Series, the only 2-in-1 interlocked dock safety system. This development lowered the risk of forklift run-off and overhead door damage.
More innovations rapidly followed: the StrongArm™ SVR303 vehicle restraint, whose patented technology and performance made it a winner in Plant Engineering’s Product of the Year competition in 2009; the U-Series dock leveler platform, which reduces deck fatigue by enabling a better distributed load, and the Air Cylinder dock leveler, an industry first that uses the power of air to deliver the same optimum performance that makes Blue Giant dock levelers an industry standard.
“We are continuously improving and proving our product line and operation,” says a company spokesperson. In 2008, the company rebranded to add to its strength in both product development and name recognition. “The company has seen a lot of activity in the last few years.”
Indeed, there are many options offered by Blue Giant that make its products superior to others on the market.
- Air Cylinder Dock Safety Package – The ACS is powered by an on-demand air system, making it an eco-friendly alternative to a hydraulic combination. Benefits of using air-actuated dock equipment include decreased operating costs, reduced downtime (where there’s air, there’s power!) and environmental sustainability, which results in a positive company image and eligibility for LEED benefits;
- Blue Genius touch controls – LCD communication screen, microprocessor-based controls, printed circuit board technology, network connections and many more advanced technologies make the dock operation safer and more efficient;
- Structural integrity – Strength is the hallmark of Blue Giant dock levelers. The company’s signature U-beam configuration enables a more evenly distributed load, extending deck life up to 50 percent, compared to the competition;
- Assured Motion Float – For more demanding applications, Blue Giant offers a four-inch maintained deck tilt that allows the dock leveler to withstand heavier usage with experiencing deck fatigue;
- StrongArm™ SVR303 – Blue Giant’s award-winning hydraulic vehicle restraint is a low-profile, non-impact design with a rotating arm that seeks a truck’s rear impact guard via a patented, switchless technology. Once engaged, it uses 35,000 pounds of restraining force to secure the truck to the dock. Dual-acting hydraulic cylinders prevent lock-up and release problems, even during wet and flooded conditions.
In 2012, with close to 50 years under its belt, Blue Giant continued expanding its product line and global presence. Stocking locations have been opened all over North America, providing customers with quick and cost-effective access to parts and equipment.
“Blue Giant’s track record as the premier dock equipment solutions provider has earned us a worldwide customer base and a solid place at the forefront of the industry,” said Bill Kostenko, the company’s president and CEO. “By ensuring that our dock equipment technology continues to evolve, we as a company will always be able to offer loading dock solutions that match all applications and site requirements.”
The HVR Advantage
Especially for loading docks, the company has also released the HVR303 Electric vehicle restraint, featuring 32,000 pounds (14,500 kgs) of restraining strength.
The wall-mounted Blue Giant StrongArm™ HVR303 electric vehicle restraint secures a trailer to the loading dock via an electro-mechanical hook design. Easy to install and eco-friendly, the HVR303 combines advanced engineering, positive holding ability, and sophisticated touch controls to make a loading dock safer than ever.
Highlights of the electric vehicle restraint include:
- Instant Compensation Float: With a vertical restraining range of nine inches (227 mm) to 25 inches (635 mm) and instant float of 16 inches (406 mm), the HVR303 services a wide variety of trailers, including those with bent or damaged ICC bars;
- Green Power: The StrongArm™ HVR303 is an environmentally sustainable alternative to oil-powered hydraulics. It can be interlocked with Blue Giant air-powered dock levelers to build a “green” loading dock solution, allowing builders and developers to qualify for government incentives as well as project the image of an environmentally responsible business;
- Strength: With a restraining force of 32,000 pounds, the StrongArm™ HVR303 helps prevent the dangers associated with unexpected horizontal or vertical trailer movement. Secure gripping and holding capability enables a smooth and fortified bridge between the loading dock and the trailer, keeping cargo, equipment, and forklift operators safer during loading and unloading;
- Intelligent Touch Controls: The Blue Genius™ Gold Series II Touch Control Panel’s features include an LCD menu screen, function buttons and a flat-surface keypad with unique touch sensors. Interior and exterior LED lights keep drivers and warehouse personnel advised of safety conditions. A built-in network communication system enables multiple units of dock equipment to be operated in safe and proper sequence; and
- Green (Electrical) Power: The electrically powered restraint is an environmentally friendly alternative to powered hydraulics. It can be interlocked with Blue Giant air-powered dock levelers to build a ‘green’ loading dock solution.
A Giant Leap for Docks Everywhere
Continuing to advance the industry and bring value to its customers’ operations, Blue Giant has made significant strides in its product portfolio in 2012, leaping past the competition in terms of engineering and ergonomic excellence.
For one, there’s the S-22 eStacker, an easy-to-use-and-maintain truck that is a good choice for general material handling and work positioning in tight areas. It has a 2,200-pound capacity featuring monomast construction and a 62-inch lift height, as well as a 24-volt Curtis transistor control, high efficiency, 24-volt permanent magnet DC drive motor and adjustable straddles.
“The S22 is an excellent choice for applications that are too intensive for a manual push stacker,” says Jeff Miller, Blue Giant’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Its compact size supports easy maneuverability in tight locations such as crowded warehouses or grocery outlets. A low price point and versatile operation make it one of our most popular new offerings.”
Described as a “versatile truck” that can be put to a wide range of uses – assembly line lifting, vehicle loading and unloading, order picking and general pallet transport – the S-22 also has one of the smallest body lengths in the industry, so it operates smoothly in places where maneuverability is particularly important.
This year, Blue Giant also launched the PDS40 electric straddle truck, the latest in the company’s successful line of Big Joe by Blue Giant AC-powered forklifts. Featuring a regenerative braking system, smooth turning ability, and advanced ergonomics, the PDS40 offers greater operating flexibility and longer run times than DC-powered models.
“The PDS40 builds upon the proven performance standards of the PDS Series by incorporating state-of-the art lift truck technology,” says Miller. “It’s designed and engineered to meet and even exceed the demanding requirements of the retail store stock rooms with their higher lift height requirements and confined spaces.”
The PDS40 can handle freight loads of up to 4,000 pounds at a 24-inch load center. The high torque AC-drive motor delivers responsive acceleration and smooth performance throughout the battery’s discharge cycle. The braking system is mounted on the motor armature shaft, multiplying the braking power via drive transmission. Travel speed remains constant relative to the throttle position, regardless of load weight. The ergonomic operator handle enables easy and steady control of the travel, lifting, and lowering functions.
Also new is the WRT60 electric rider pallet truck, which is available in 6,000-pound capacity models. Featuring heavy-duty steel construction the WRT60 delivers exceptional value with features that include:
- 24volt ZAPI AC transistor control;
- Large high torque AC drive motor;
- Heavy duty Comer transmission;
- Shaft-mounted electromechanical brake;
- Ergonomic handle with lift, lower, and infinitely variable speed control;
- Ergonomic high-speed bar with lift, lower, horn and high-speed controls;
- Safety reversing switch, dual horn controls and tiller release brake;
- Battery discharge indicator with an hour meter; and
- Key switch to limit access to approved personnel.
Blue Giant has secured its place in the industry during the last 50 years. It has straddled the market with advanced material handling and docking machines that get the job done while offering operator ease of use.
Now headed full throttle into the 21st century, the company has many more innovations yet to deliver. New designs could very well raise the industry bar – again.