Engine Hoist Case Study
A Custom Solution to a Recurring Problem
How EDCO designed a more durable and user-friendly engine hoist to meet the demand of Sunbelt Rentals’ customers
Sunbelt Rentals has partnered with EDCO for nearly 40 years to meet the challenge. EDCO custom builds equipment designed for the demanding rental market. When Sunbelt Rentals encounters a recurring issue with one of their products, they reach out to the team at EDCO to devise a solution that satisfies both customers and team members at their 1,050+ locations across North America. “Rental is pretty tough on equipment,” Dustin Thompson, Territory Fleet Manager for Sunbelt Rentals says. “EDCO keeps that in mind and always builds an equally tough product for us.” So, when Sunbelt Rentals brought a prototype of an engine hoist to the EDCO team and asked them to replicate it for their market, they knew their idea would be in good hands.
Since 1959, EDCO has been evolving to meet the needs of the rental market. Rental store employees Leo Swan and Ed Harding noted that their customers had recurring problems when resurfacing uneven concrete floors. To help their customers, the budding entrepreneurs created the modern-day concrete floor grinder. While this lone grinder was only intended to satisfy their current clientele, news of its existence spread, and wait times for the grinder swelled. Eventually, with this grinder as their cornerstone, Leo and Ed founded Equipment Development Company, or EDCO, and the design and production of “Rental-Tough” products hasn’t stopped. Recently, the team at EDCO has been approached by their partners to create tools and equipment outside of their normal product range–helping further meet the needs of the demanding rental market.
“We knew we needed to find a better solution, and we knew EDCO was the right partner,” Thompson adds.
Typically, an engine hoist is a big, bulky piece of equipment. When a customer needs to rent one, they need to have the space to use it and the means to transport it. “Due to their size, engine hoists are difficult to move as well as transport, and can take up an ample amount of space to store,” Thompson explains. “If a customer came to pick one up and did not have the right sized vehicle or a means to load it, we unfortunately had to turn them away.” The internal team at Sunbelt Rentals recommended they offer a knock-down hoist, which is portable, user-friendly and folds up to fit small spaces. Through some research, Sunbelt Rentals was able to find an old prototype, which they brought to the team at EDCO.
“In order to provide a solution that would be effective for our customers, we needed the new unit to be both compact and adjustable,” Thompson adds. “The problem was that there wasn’t anyone currently making this product.”
Sunbelt Rentals knew they needed a lot of the hoists and they needed them to be high quality and supported by a trusted partner. EDCO took the prototype and got to work. “This is something we never had done before,” Tony Calcopietro, Sales Director of Rental at EDCO, says. “We reverse-engineered the old prototype they brought us to create a product that was identical to something that was produced 40 years ago.” EDCO’s research and development team worked with the Sunbelt Rentals team to tweak the product so it was a perfect fit for their customer. The second iteration of the product included a locking pin and safety closure that Sunbelt Rentals wanted. “EDCO worked to make sure all departments at Sunbelt Rentals were on board with the new product and listened to our ideas and kept the process moving forward proactively,” Thompson says. The whole process from idea and creation, to review and approval, took about a year.
“We went through several steps of approval with the Sunbelt management teams to make sure the engine hoist met their strict guidelines and requirements,” Calcopietro says. “We were able to produce a heavy-duty, quality-engineered, U.S.-made product that met the need for our customer, creating this new product from scratch that was outside of the normal EDCO surface prep and sawing and drilling world.”
Not only does Sunbelt Rentals have a product that they feel confident renting to customers, they also feel confident in the service they receive from the EDCO team. EDCO supports this product and any future products they may need. “EDCO stands for Equipment Development Company, and we are always reminding them of their name,” Thompson says. “We bring them ideas and ask if it’s something they can do and they’re always very open and supportive. They’re a great partner, and we’re grateful for their expertise.” Sunbelt Rentals and EDCO’s relationship is going strong; they have plans to partner on more products in the future, building on their decades of history. “This is a huge success story in the sense that we’ve never been tasked to build something like this before,” Calcopietro said. “We identified these projects as an opportunity to partner with our top customers to build items that they have a demand for and that specifically the equipment and rental industry has a need for. “Whether it’s quality or availability, EDCO is starting to identify these opportunities,” he continues. “Quality is definitely a huge part of the equation and we are happy to meet that need, but it’s the relationships we have with our customers that solidifies these partnerships. We are always looking to help our customers and the relationships come first.”