Harrington Creates a Revolution

Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Harrington Hoists are used in a variety of environments and projects everyday. Here you see their products hard at work. The bridge is the fifth-longest suspension bridge spans in the United States, and the 31st-longest in the world.

A company known for its relentless development and innovation, for over 143 years creativity has been the watchword for Harrington Hoists, Inc. Born from the bold vision of its founder, the company continues to be a success story despite economic ups and downs and the changing fortunes of the industry.

Harrington Hoists, Inc. is a Kito Group Company with divisions in Manheim, PA and Corona, CA. They are a leading supplier of electric and air powered chain hoists as well as electric wire rope hoists, lever hoists, manual chain hoists, push/geared trolleys, overhead cranes and crane components, but that’s just the nuts and bolts of this diverse company.

One of the oldest, most well established hoist and crane suppliers in the country; Harrington owes its success to an abiding passion for improving the design and production of its hoist and crane products. This is the same passion that has placed Harrington at the forefront of the industry from its founding until today.
Starting his own tool company at the ripe old age of 29, Edwin Harrington was a machinist who’d apprenticed in a number of shops before setting out on his own. Having learned invaluable lessons about hard work and consistent effort plying his trade, Harrington’s gamble quickly paid off.

As his company began to prosper, Harrington relocated to the industrial market of Philadelphia, PA. By 1867, the former machinist was already demonstrating the dynamism and progressive thinking that continues to shape the company’s vision today. Abandoning tool manufacturing in order to focus strictly on the hoist market, Harrington succeeded in a very tough business climate, establishing his company as one of the industry’s major players.

As Harrington’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Carlo Lonardi is acutely aware of their place at the forefront of the hoist business: “When Harrington began, we were a small niche market player,” Lonardi explains. “But, today we have grown into a major force in the lifting industry.”

Harrington’s early success was made possible by a number of groundbreaking innovations that separated their hoists from the pack. The spur gear hoist, the Weston-style brake and the use of anti-friction bearings were all breakthrough developments that saw the Harrington name rising to the top of a very short list of industry movers and shakers. In fact, Harrington is credited with being one of the first to put electricity to a hoist in 1896.

The company’s many victories led to a number of beneficial changes that found Shingle Belting acquiring Harrington Hoists in 1968. By 1978 the company had been acquired by Arbee Corporation and moved to its current location in Manheim, PA, about an hour west of Philadelphia. Eventually, this materialized in a prosperous partnering with Kito Corp, the world’s largest manufacturer of chain hoists and chain products, and by 1990, Harrington Hoists, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kito Corporation. The new arrangement has been a joint effort making the company the sole source for Harrington/Kito hoists and cranes in the United States and Mexico. This important vendor relationship enabled Harrington to build on its success by varying its product line. A Corona, CA facility was opened in 1993 in order to expand the company’s domestic exposure. In the first seven years, this new division tripled in size.

Harrington’s motto – “Join the Revolution” – speaks as much to their rapid growth from niche player to industry leader as it does to their reputation for constantly remaking what it means to be among the industry’s best. Harrington’s revolution has been based on evolution: a commitment to forward thinking and innovation.

On a recent Industry Visions industrial news program, Lonardi explained that there was something very simple at work behind Harrington’s dynamic profile; something downright traditional. It was the same basic element that gave Edwin Harrington the guts to turn his back on the machine shop over a century ago: passion.

“I guess the bottom line for everybody at Harrington Hoist is we really like hoists!” explained Lonardi. “No kidding, we really do!”
In addition to being passionate about products the company also seems to thrive on close contact with their customer base. This dedication to their clients may mean as much to those who depend on Harrington’s products as their relentless pursuit to gain the reputation as the safest, highest quality, most reliable hoists in the world.

“It’s the contact with our customers that keeps us in tune to what the needs of the end user are,” Lonardi explains. “What’s more, our engineering team continues to design a product that continues to serve them better.”

Add to this a bit of hyper-vigilant after-purchase service and it would seem that Harrington has discovered a formula for success.
“If they need something, we tell them to call,” says Lonardi. “They can call me right now if they want to!”Lonardi recently accepted the Industry Visions Award, which was presented to Harrington Hoists for Innovative Manufacturer of the Year honors in 2009; however the company is certainly not resting on its laurels. With a number of new developments in the pipeline, it seems Harrington is planning to send Lonardi on another trip to the podium soon. Harrington’s most recent innovations see them continuing to adopt a big-picture perspective, looking toward a safer, greener future for their customers and the planet.

The company has recently undergone a grueling battery of tests and reviews in order to establish UL Certified standards across their entire NER/ER Three Phase, electric chain hoist product line. The process saw the company’s products scrutinized from design documents to product samples. The evaluation resulted in yet another success that gives Harrington the benefits of ensuring customers that all Harrington three phase, electric chain hoist products meet safety and quality standards, increasing confidence in their electrical and mechanical integrity.

In addition to their new UL certification, Harrington has recently developed a product specifically aimed at making the dangerous business of heavy lifting a whole lot safer. The Fail-Safe Brake – also called the Guardian Smart Brake – was developed to control load-drop danger. Unlike most electric hoists that separate the motor from the brake, the Fail-Safe brake operates in-series with the motor. If there is any failure in the motor or the hoist is single phased, the brake won’t open. The brake features a heat management system through fan cooling, long-lasting braking material and a 10-year replacement warranty.
Harrington has also established a rating of ROHS (Restriction of Hazard Substances) Green Compliant with the introduction of their newest model: the NER/ER Three Phase Electric Series Hoist. The new line represents Harrington’s dedication to eliminating several harmful materials including lead and mercury from their manufacturing process, a change of perspective that is in keeping with the company’s progressive record.

“We’ve been making dirty products for dirty work for over 143 years” explains Lonardi, pointing out that Harrington hopes to be at the forefront of the pro-environmental change in the industry.

In addition to helping hard-working people do their dirty work, Harrington has recently decided to make a difference by helping to lift the spirits of the people of Haiti. Along with the Industrial Supply Association (ISA), Harrington has offered much needed lifting equipment for use in the ongoing relief effort on the island. ISA has stepped in to organize staging for hoists and gear and the first shipment landed in Haiti this past February.

“We’ve sent various manual hand chain hoists and lever hoists,” explains Harrington’s Business Development Sales Manager, Bret Lussow. “These are tools that can be used to accomplish this task. We are fortunate to be able to contribute our products and we encourage others to do whatever they can to help.”

Although it doesn’t compare to the natural disaster in Haiti, the global economic downturn has affected Harrington as it has every company in the industry.
“The biggest challenge during my time at Harrington Hoists has been the crushing blow of the economy over the past couple of years,” states Lonardi. “In 2007, Harrington had a large surge in sales and production; however in late 2008 the economy took a dive.” Typically, Harrington has found a unique path through this recent sticking point, by forging forward instead of scaling back.

“Harrington had to make changes like any other company over the past two years,” Lonardi continues. “However, instead of cutting back on our sales team, we grew our sales force and strengthened our marketing campaigns.”

While the past few years have been riddled with tough decisions with the underlying emphasis on survival for most companies, Harrington Hoists, Inc. realizes that the decisions they make, everything from pushing the norm and raising the standards in their product line to launching exciting and new sales strategies are what have kept customers returning and their hoists lifting for over a century. With its ever-evolving product lines, dedication to innovation and progressive vision, it’s likely that Harrington will continue to not just survive but thrive well into the next century.

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