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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 August 2004 20:14
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Mason contractors are very aware of the added expense and the never ending battle of working in cold temperatures while constructing masonry projects. Throughout the history of masonry construction, one of the single largest costs and inefficiencies of working in the winter or any cold weather condition is generating a steady supply of warm water for mixing mortar and grout. The reality is that heating sand and water by way of propane gas and culvert pipe or direct flame on a barrel is a waste of money and time, not to mention it introduces safety concerns. Considering all of the recent innovations impacting masonry products, practices and equipment, there is definitely a need for a system that eliminates this job site challenge, especially a solution that increases the efficiency and productivity of a mason crew.

4U Manufacturing, a Wyoming based company, researched this cold weather predicament and developed the solution— “The Water Hopper”. The Water Hopper is a portable automatic water system that will place a pre-determined or variable amount of water into one or more mixers simultaneously. Operating with an innovative and energy efficient technology, the Water Hopper is a labor-saving device that will heat and dispense water on the jobsite. The unit ensures that the preferred amount of water at the optimal temperature to meet code requirements is introduced for every batch.

Depending on the contractor’s needs and job site space, the unit is available in the larger capacity “Extreme Water Hopper” and the smaller “Job Box Model”. The Extreme model is an 8ft. x 10 ft. standalone insulated unit that optimizes fuel efficiency, provides protection from the elements, and is easily transported on site or from job to job. It has two metered storage tanks and can dispense from both sides of the shell, working simultaneously to fill two mixing stations, one on each side. Also available is a scaled down version called the Job Box Model which is a smaller, more portable unit that is placed next to the mixer. With the flip of a switch, the Job Box produces hot water instantly.

Regardless of whether a contractor uses a silo system or small bags, mixing onsite has never been as consistent and efficient as it is with the Extreme Water Hopper. The unit ensures that the preferred amount of water at the optimal temperature to meet code requirements is introduced to every batch. The unit runs off of AC or DC power while using either propane or natural gas to generate heat and ultimately supplies mixing water with temperatures ranging from 98°F to 140°F. This allows the laborers to safely control the water heating process and results in the desired temperature of mortar and grout as stated in Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures (ACI 530/ASCE 5/TMS 402). With the simple pull of a lever, a predetermined amount of heated water is dispensed directly into the mixer.

With an output rate of up to 40 gallons every five minutes, the Extreme Water Hopper can provide all the hot water needed from a small project to a very large project. Mason contractors revel at its ability to instantly charge a 20 cubic foot mixer with enough heated water for a full batch. Furthermore, while one batch of mortar or grout is mixing, warm water is automatically replenishing the Water Hopper’s metered tank providing continuous material batch cycle times that can be set between three to six minutes. When utilizing the Water Hopper, batches of mortar and grout will always be the temperature desired by the contractor. That said, job site inspectors can relax knowing the temperature of the product going into the wall is always within tolerance for optimal performance.

As a problem solver with an extensive background in masonry equipment, the originator of the Water Hopper, Mike Capps of 4U Manufacturing engineered the system while focusing on contractor benefits. To find the best solution Capps spent over three years in research and development, talking with numerous mason contractors and visiting job sites to witness the different approaches used by mason tenders to heat water. What he identified were significant inefficiencies which hindered production and increased costs. From the start it was clear the Water Hopper system was needed to help contractors reduce those costs and increase production.

In cold weather climates mason tenders or laborers are typically required to be on site early, sometimes up to an hour ahead of the crew to heat the water and prepare the first batch of mortar for the masons. The Extreme Water Hopper enables the mason tender to charge the first batch of mortar in the morning within five minutes of punching in and is ready to dispense heated water into the mixer for the second batch before the first mortar tub is loaded.  The tender then needs only the last five minutes of the day to prepare for the following day. This equals a minimum labor savings of 30 minutes every day or roughly 10 hours every standard work week.

Another savings the Water Hopper provides mason contractors with is lower fuel cost for heating water. During his field research Capps observed a project where the laborer had two handheld torches blowing flames directly on three 55 gallon water barrels to keep the water hot. It was estimated that the contractor was using nearly 100 pounds of propane gas every day. In comparison, the same amount of propane would last approximately two weeks to heat that same amount of water using the Extreme Water Hopper. The LP Gas or Natural Gas is only used when the demand for hot water is activated by the float; this eliminates wasted energy. When a contractor uses traditional torches and water barrels to heat water, it’s not uncommon for 80% of the fuel to be wasted, not so with the Water Hopper. Additionally, there’s a cost to chase down and replace the tanks daily, not to mention the wasted labor while waiting for the water to be hot enough to meet code.  Capps adds, “The Water Hopper requires very little maintenance and fuel compared to traditional heating methods and when contractors couple this savings with the profitability realized from increased daily production of their laborers and masons, the net gain can easily double if not triple”.

With increased safety requirements prohibiting open flames in many work areas, contractors utilizing the Water Hopper are benefiting because of the unique design with no exposed flame nor electrical elements in the water. The Water Hopper provides a quick, safe, energy efficient, professional tool for any mason contractor and gets two thumbs up from inspectors, general contractors, safety personnel, and project management.

The Water Hopper is patent pending and proudly manufactured in the USA by 4U Manufacturing LLC. It is available in the Extreme model or The Job Box model. With either option, The Water Hopper is an energy efficient, production boosting, labor savings piece of equipment, designed to maximize contractor profits and keep the jobsite safe.

For more information call 888-754-7909 or see our website at
Last Updated on Monday, 20 September 2010 18:33
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New York Entrepreneur Wins Kioti Tractor 2008 Success Story Contest

Wendell, NC- KIOTI Tractor is pleased to announce Richard Vega of Lake George, New York, as the winner of their 2008 National Success Stories contest.  This national contest was run online through to collect customer stories about how they utilize their KIOTI tractors.  To be eligible for the contest, entrants were required to submit a KIOTI tractor serial number, the dealer name and date they purchased the tractor, a description of how they use their tractor and a photograph of themselves with the tractor.  One winner was selected each month, with the monthly winners becoming eligible for the grand prize.

Vega owns Adirondack Furniture Designs, a rustic furniture design business and uses his DK45SE HST tractor for a variety of tasks from landscaping, to tree cutting and hauling, to snow removal and lifting.  To accomplish this diversity of tasks, he equipped the tractor with a number of implements, including a loader, landscape rake, blade and pallet forks.

Vega submitted an entry into the KIOTI Success Stories contest last May and was selected as the winning entry that month. "My beautiful DK45SE HST has it all.  It's powerful, yet easy-to-handle and its 3 point hitch is great for setting up implements.  I have cleared three acres of wooded land and made the property around our shop look like a state park, substantially increasing its value. My investment in the KIOTI DK45 was worth every penny.  I've had no problems with the machine.   No comparable tractor would give me all the features on my KIOTI at a similar cost, plus KIOTI's 4-Year, Full-Fleet Warranty set my mind at ease."  

Along with his testimonial, Vega sent before and after photos of the work completed on his property with the DK45, noting that he has used it to move "Mounds and mounds of dirt, trees and boulders to complete his landscaping." "A picture is worth a thousand words," states Ron Parrish, Market Development Manager of KIOTI.  "The photos sent with Vega's entry really made it apparent how much work he has done with his tractor, showcasing its ability to be a valuable tool for small business owners, landscapers, do-it-yourselfers and others."

KIOTI ran the Success Stories contest from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008.  Monthly winners received a collectible KIOTI tractor, a KIOTI hat and a $100 gift card plus an opportunity to win the grand prize.  As the national grand prize winner of this year-long contest, Vega received a $1,500 gift card.  

Vega purchased his KIOTI tractor through Wallace Tractor & Equipment of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania.   "Wallace Tractor was excellent to deal with and still is to this very day. They listened closely to the scope of the work I needed to complete with the tractor prior to showing me the DK45.  By asking me a series of qualifying questions upfront, they were able to make the perfect tractor and implement recommendations.  The DK45 is a real workhorse, yet easy to operate," says Vega. "Even my wife likes using it!"

KIOTI Tractor is a market driven company, who manufacturer a full line of compact tractors in the 22 – 90 horsepower range from their Wendell, North Carolina headquarters. The DK45 is one of many models built to provide customers throughout North America with a wide range of tractor choices to meet their application needs. KIOTI is a member of AEM in addition to being active members of several other trade associations serving the farm equipment and related industries. KIOTI Tractor is now celebrating over twenty years in North America. For more information on the DK45 or other KIOTI products, please call 877-465-4684 or visit    


Last Updated on Friday, 03 April 2009 15:05
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SPAL Celebrates 50 Years as Manufacturer of OEM, Aftermarket Products

CORREGGIO, Italy - SPAL Automotive s.r.l. is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a leading manufacturer of high-quality fan, blower and electronic products for a variety of industries, including the agricultural, automotive, bus, construction, industrial, off-highway and truck markets. 

Founded in 1959, SPAL initially specialized in plastic mold design and production.  Soon after, SPAL began designing and manufacturing high-performance axial fans and centrifugal blowers as cooling solutions for a wide range of applications.  Its first fan customer, Ferrari, set the stage for SPAL's commitment to manufacturing excellence as it grew in the coming years.  Focusing on quality assurance and vertical integration - encompassing everything from in-house tool design to final assembly of the fans and blowers - SPAL today is a world-class supplier to a host of OEM companies, including Audi, BMW, Bombardier, Harley-Davidson, John Deere, Polaris and Thermo King among others. 
Where airflow is a key requirement for engine/oil cooling, HVAC and ventilation, SPAL products are designed, and can be adapted, to meet specific dimensional and performance needs. 
"At SPAL, we believe in delivering high-performing, reliable and superior products to all our customers," said SPAL C.O.O. Brent Clark.  "Over the last five decades, we have focused on advanced engineering and continuous R&D to expand our product lines in order to serve as an expert resource for customers during their product development processes.  In doing so, our engineers can customize specific products to meet unique customer needs."
In 1985, the company diversified again and began making and distributing a wide range of electronic products including cameras, monitors, parking sensors, power door locks, power window kits and vehicle security systems to satisfy another segment of the market.
SPAL's corporate headquarters has grown to more than 500,000 square feet today housing its engineering, manufacturing, product research and development, sales and testing facilities.  There are several automated production lines to support its assembly operations giving SPAL the capacity to produce more than 5 million fans and blowers annually.
With 50 years of experience and growth as a basis, SPAL is continually investing in technology and equipment to provide cooling solutions.  This includes today's hybrid and electric vehicles that require both direct and indirect vehicle engine and/or battery cooling.
"Our latest development in brushless motor technology incorporates fully sealed motors and multiple protective features that are designed to increase efficiency and reduce the number of wear components.  The brushless motor technology is IP68-compliant against water and dust intrusion, making SPAL capable of adding cooling to demanding applications previously underserved in the market, " said Clark, who adds the company has completed a new facility to support this product line.  "We are focused on expanding and evolving our role as the complete supplier partner to our current and new customer base."
SPAL's North American operation, SPAL USA, has acted as the sales, distribution and marketing center for SPAL products since 1989.  The U.S. facility is housed in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Ankeny, Iowa, and employs a staff of 30.  From this location, SPAL USA conducts sales, distribution, engineering and technical support for OEM and aftermarket applications.
In addition to its Italy headquarters and North American distribution center, the company also maintains global facilities in Delhi, India (Pee Aar Exim Pvt. LTD); Saint Petersburg, Russia (SPAL Russia Limited Company); São Paulo, Brazil (SPAL Brazil); Shanghai, China (SPAL China); and the United Kingdom (SPAL Automotive UK Limited).
SPAL Automotive's quality management system is ISO/TS16949:2002 certified for the design, development and production of its automotive-related products.  In addition, SPAL's Environmental Management System is certified to UNI EN ISO14001:2004 and also meets the European Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles (ELV).  SPAL USA is a member in good standing with the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) and Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
For more information, visit

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 April 2009 01:22
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'Lifting' Breast Cancer Awareness 


News, tips and information about the <asonry industry

(L to R) Lucas Peed is shown with Bud PeCoy and Mark Swedlund. 

Bud PeCoy of Mid Country Machinery, a construction equipment dealer and rental company headquartered in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and partners Mark Swedlund, Lucas Peed and Bob Conaway, have created a breast cancer awareness campaign by purchasing two special JLG Model 800S telescoping boom lifts to add to their rental fleet.




Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 16:08
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