How We Moved A Rocket – Hovair In History

Last Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To commemorate this achievement in human events, we wanted to revisit our own contributions to space exploration. In this article we will see how our air handling dolly aided NASA in the Space Shuttle program.

Hovair Systems prides itself on providing heavy load moving solutions, and what better challenge to test that ability than with rocket assembly? In 1978 we designed a Rocket Motor Case Handling Dolly, which was used in the assembly of solid rocket motors.

This dolly had a 12 ft diameter, and a weight capacity of 70,000 lbs. Despite the mass of the fuel containment vessel, it is nearly weightless when cradled in the dolly. This effect is due to our air bearing systems, which use compressed air to lift a heavy object away from a surface. Underneath the vessel are a series of rubber pads that allow free movement of the rocket. The dolly itself rests on a set of air bearings, which allowed engineers to float the entire rig across the factory floor.

In this photograph you can see the record-shaped rubber pads on the air bearings. This is where compressed air escapes and creates an air-film seal between an object and a surface. The same technique is also applied beneath this dolly so it can move to other locations. This transporter was 13×36 feet, and could move Rocket Motor Case Segments weighing 360,000lbs.

Here we see multiple units coming together in the assembly process. With machines this big there is no room for error. Hovair assembly equipment allowed for six degrees of freedom and provided movement within a few thousandths of an inch. This is just one example of the many industries we have helped throughout history. If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment or share it with a friend. Remember to stay in touch for more news from Hovair Systems.

What Causes Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome and How to Prevent It

The Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS for short is a disease caused by occupational exposure to vibrating tools. Its effects include muscle weakness, discomfort, pain, permanent numbness, and eventually lead to white finger (Raynaud’s disease). The disease is almost exclusively limited to workers that have been using vibrating tools for many years.

In this blog, we take a look at what causes the Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, its symptoms, and how to prevent it.

What Causes Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Workers that regularly use power tools across various industries such as mining, construction, maintenance, and forestry are at risk of HAVS including those that work in colder climates.

The longer the exposure to vibrating tools, the higher the risk of contracting HAVS. The following tools are known to contribute to the disease:

  • Riveters
  • Grinders
  • Jackhammers
  • Chainsaws
  • Drills

HAVS can take anywhere from six months to six years to develop and the condition becomes irreversible after the fingers get blanched.

Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome

Although it’s not entirely clear how vibrations cause HAVS, it’s hypothesized that the repetitive motions damage the blood vessels and small nerves found inside the fingers.

Initially, the nerves are affected, causing changes in sensations;further damage results in a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, eventually leading to something known as white finger.

Some of the symptoms of HAVS include:

  • Aches and Pains: Minor damage causes pain to appear in the bones and joints of the hand and lower arms.
  • Nerve Damage: Early features of nerve damage include numbness and a tingling sensation. At first such sensations come and go and only appear at the fingertips but they get progressively worse with continued exposure to power tools. Permanent numbness sets in after a while and makes it difficult to carry out routine tasks due to weakened muscle grip.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon: At this stage, symptoms are triggered by touching cold objects or cold weather conditions.

Prevention of Hand-Arm Vibrating Syndrome

The obvious step is to stop using vibrating tools and try to seek another profession. If that isn’t possible, then the following steps can help prevent HAVS from appearing:

  • Ensure proper maintenance of vibrating tools
  • Hold tools in varying positions and don’t grip them too tightly
  • Take a break of around 10 to 15 minutes after each hour of use
  • Use only the tool that is required for the job
  • Don’t smoke as the chemicals found in tobacco restrict blood flow
  • Stay warm during the chilly weather and protect your hands from getting cold

Around 2 million workers in the U.S are exposed to HAVS with half estimated to contract the disease in the future, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Hovair manufactures air-powered tools including heavy load carriers and lift decks that adhere to the highest safety regulations. These come with minimal vibrations and greatly reduce the chances of workers contracting HAVS. Contact us today for more information.


Modern Challenges Faced by the Material Handling Industry

Although logistics and material handling industry is currently undergoing a digital transformation, businesses continue to struggle with traditional challenges. According to MHI’s Annual Industry Report of 2018, problems such as hiring skilled workers and meeting customer demands are relevant issues managers are unable to deal with.

Additionally, the need to enhance operations and meet compliance laws continues to put pressure on companies to improve operations.

In this blog, we discuss a few modern challenges faced by the material handling industry.

Material Management

Warehouse managers that lack complete visibility of their inventory face problems such as over and under-stocking which then leads to decreased cash flows and increased material expenses.

Inventory shortages result in unfulfilled orders and dissatisfied customers. The primary challenge lies in striking a balance between maintaining optimal inventory levels and profitability margins.

Retail businesses are struggling to manage both in-store and online channels effectively. Today, the majority of manufacturing expenses are linked to materials which underline the need to adopt effective material management strategies.


High hourly compensation coupled with decreased employment rates makes it difficult for companies within the material handling industry to retain the best talent.

Distribution and manufacturing facilities are facing high turnover rates that are creating a negative impact on the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, warehousing jobs are experiencing some of the highest turnover rates, a trend that continues to rise year after year.

Labor Costs

Material handling companies are tasked with moving thousands of tons of materials daily while relying on a large number of manual labors. Businesses are buckling under the costs of maintaining heavy load-moving machinery as well as spending constantly on employee training programs due to high turnover rates.

Given how fierce the competition within the industry is, there’s a greater need to cut down on manufacturing costs in order to remain competitive. Add to this the costs employee shortfall and medical expenses, and you have small businesses struggling to maintain profitability.

Safety Concerns

Using heavy machinery to move loads around the workplace is bound to involve accidents and injuries. Forklifts alone are responsible for 85 fatalities, 34,900 serious, and 61,800 non-serious injuries each year.

Instances include being crushed between vehicles, getting struck or run over by forklifts, falling from heights, and injury due to falling loads. Switching to pneumatic tools to move heavy loads helps business to reduce instances of workplace injury and also remain compliant with the industry’s safety regulations.

Hovair Systems Inc. provides air-powered tools and systems to the material handling industry. Their products include air-lifting jacks, machine rigging equipment, air bearings, and a range of equipment that makes moving heavy loads easier and safer. Contact us today for more information.