Hawboldt Industries

A member of EMC and the Nova Scotia Consortium

Nova Scotia manufacturers are a diverse bunch and are known to quietly (and successfully) go about their business without drawing a lot of attention to themselves. This is the case for recent activity involving South Shore member Hawboldt Industries of Chester.

Hawboldt Industries has been in business in Nova Scotia for over a century and has a reputation for manufacturing high quality, robust and innovative equipment to service the marine industry. Their client base includes the defense industry, oil and gas, fishery and scientific sectors. The products they make are unique and interesting but it was the recent application of a winch they provided that had a large amount of the 'cool factor'.

The bulk of the equipment Hawboldt specializes in are winches and related support machinery. These can be small but accurate scientific winches up to massive support winches used to handle the umbilical cable needed to operate remote operated vehicles (ROV's) in the offshore oil industry. Once a winch is built Hawboldt typically loads the cable (up to 6 km of it) on the winch and they need to do this under tension to simulate the working conditions the winch will face. To do this, Hawboldt uses a piece of equipment called a Traction Winch which can apply a lot of resistance or pull on the cable it is handling.

This is where the story gets cool....

I recently watched a daredevil walk on a tight wire across Niagara Falls and was amazed that not only could he do it but I wondered how did they string and tension the wire. Well, much to my surprise, I learned it was a traction winch provided by Hawboldt Industries that made the whole thing possible. Working through their parent company Timberland Equipment (also EMC members) they provided the equipment to a contractor who specializes in stringing power lines and the rest, as they say, is history!

The project went like this, The US contractor, O'Connel Electric, contacted TSE International, a sister company of Hawboldt in the US, for information on the proposed stringing of 2" wire cable over the gorge at Niagara Falls to allow for the walk over the falls. The sales representative then contacted the company owner to discuss the project. Given the rope size, weight and relatively long span of the project this was not a normal tension stringing job. TE got Hawboldt Industries involved with providing a general method and preliminary calculations for the project. The recommendation was to use a helicopter to fly a small synthetic rope over the falls, connect that rope to the larger 2" walking rope, then pull the large rope over the falls using the smaller rope. They went through several iterations on rope size versus equipment available. Eventually they used the T350 from Hawboldt, located on the US side of the falls to provide tension on the large 2" wire rope while a drum puller on the Canadian side of the falls pulled in the small synthetic rope which had been installed using a helicopter. The puller was not strong enough to keep the large rope out of the water of the falls, so they used a sheave to double part the line and therefore double the effective linepull of the drum puller. An amazing project indeed, and given the final results a resounding success!

By Glenn Durnford, EMC Field Service Advisor

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