- SPECIAL REPORTS
A love for farming and serving farmers are what drove husband and wife Loren and Jean Van Wyk to found LDJ Manufacturing in Pella, IA, in 1995. The company initially built and sold trailers that delivered fuel to farm equipment in the field. But, in response to their customers, the Van Wyks developed Thunder Creek Equipment service trailers for storing generators, tools and welding equipment.
“Every farmer [wants] a shop in the field,” explains Loren. “We knew we could improve our [service trailers] to meet those needs and make farming a better way of life.”
Over the years, the company has gained a reputation for quality work, creativity and design excellence. It also is known for emphasizing safety on the production floor.
A good example of this is having workers use EZ-Coil reels to keep electrical cords and air, oil and lubricant hoses safely out of the way until needed. Made by Coxreels, these reels are wall mounted to maximize floor space.
Loren Van Wyk likes that the entire steel frame on these units is robotically CNC welded as a single piece that will not loosen or require maintenance over time. He also says that the reels’ rolled edges are safer for workers to touch and much less likely to damage hoses and cords than stamped edges.
The EZ-Coil’s main safety feature is controlled retraction, which retracts unneeded hose at a rate similar to it being walked back. Van Wyk says this feature eliminates the possibility of a hose hitting people or machinery should it drop out of, or be pulled from, an employee’s hands.
“By retracting at 5 fps, the reel reduces whipping length to [not more than]1 foot, with 0 to 1 ft-lb of impact,” says Van Wyk. “In contrast, spring-driven reels can retract hose, cord or cable as fast as 25 fps, with a whipping length of 5 to 15 feet and up to 500 ft-lbs of force.”
EZ-Coil reels are standard on Thunder Creek service trailers. The reels handle electric cords and hoses for air, glycols, engine and hydraulic oils, transmission fluid and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). On certain trailers, the reels are used with welder cables, jumper cables and acetylene torch hoses.
However, the reels feature a dual-axle (rather than single-axle) support system to meet demanding, off-road conditions. This system increases safety and stability during operation, reduces vibration, and strengthens the reel’s structural integrity.
LDJ makes eight series of Thunder Creek trailers: economy, standard, utility box, bulk DEF, service special, double wall, split tank, and service and lube. Any trailer can be customized so it’s able to transport everything needed for a day away from the shop. Popular options include a 40-gpm fuel pump, a front lockable toolbox to protect the pump and a rear utility box for equipment tool storage.
The company currently employs 61 people and is growing in recognition. Among its awards is the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa entrepreneur of the month for July 2012.
For more information on heavy-duty cable, cord and hose reels, call 800-269-7335 or visit www.coxreels.com.