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Blog Article

Strategies for Overcoming Warehousing Challenges

Managing a warehouse is no simple task, especially when you’re a growing company focused on continuous improvement. At EQI, we’re always looking for ways to align our warehousing operations with our growth to efficiently fulfill our customers’ precision machining and casting needs. Read on to discover five warehousing challenges we’ve faced over the years and the strategies we’ve used to overcome them.


Space Utilization

Optimizing space usage is critical in any warehouse setting. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) can help you identify the most frequently picked items and arrange storage locations to minimize the distance traveled for picking. New racking and storage technology, such as high-density automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), can also help you utilize your space more efficiently.



Not surprisingly, the most significant challenges in a warehouse involve inventory. Knowing, storing, and using what you have at the right moment can be complex. At EQI, some of the processes we use to ensure inventory accuracy include:

  • Using FIFO (First In, First Out) to rotate material
  • Utilizing an A-B-C Cycle Count Process
  • Auditing inventory frequently
  • Completing yearly inventory counts
  • Adhering to revision control standards


Product Picking

Inefficient product picking is a significant waste of time and money. To combat this, EQI documents and reviews current processes to highlight sources of inefficiencies and improve warehouse operations. Then, we relocate products to allow for more efficient picking and packing. We’ve also added automation and barcode technology that quickly identifies where a product is stored, reducing the time it takes to locate and move items.


One of the biggest challenges in a logistics chain is improving communications. If everyone involved in supply chain decision-making is aligned, planning and executing shipments can be seamless. You can also empower warehouse staff—many of whom are constantly on the move—to better communicate by integrating smartphones, two-way radios, wearable GPS devices, and Manufacturing Execution Software into your operations.

Although EQI utilizes communication tools and technologies, we believe face-to-face communication is still the best practice. Our teams hold daily warehouse meetings to discuss priorities, share concerns, and solve logistics issues.


Customer Experience

Superior customer service is a top priority for EQI. That’s why we have an extensive global network of warehouses to serve more clients in more places. We’ve strategically positioned these locations to provide same-day, customized services that help customers keep their costs low. To streamline efficiencies, we also offer value-added services, such as painting (wet and powder), machining, kitting, assembly, inspections, and rework/repair. We aim to provide a comprehensive warehousing service that takes the complexity out of managing multiple vendors for our customers.


Interested in learning more about our warehousing capabilities? Contact us today to get started.




Blog Article

When Is Casting an Effective Alternative to Fabrication?

Castings are the right choice for many metal product applications. It’s not unusual to prototype a new product using a fabricated assembly, but once production starts, the inefficiencies of cutting, shaping, and welding individual components together begin to add up. In contrast, castings are efficient because material is only applied where needed, and welding is eliminated. In many instances, casting can save time and money while increasing quality. So, how do you know if casting is right for your product?


Determining if Casting is a Good Fit for Your Design

We’ve compiled a list of seven considerations to help you decide if casting is right for your next project. It’s important to explore all these factors before switching from fabrication.

  1. Complexity – Casting is great for parts with complex geometry because it allows you to quickly create a repeatable and consistent shape. Cored or hollow sections are also possible, sometimes for little additional cost.
  2. Size & Thickness – Allowing for appropriate solidification and metal flow, wall thickness of 4 mm or less can be achieved, with variation depending on material and geometry. Casting is possible for isolated thin or thick sections, but the overall design will require expert analysis to ensure success.
  3. Strength Requirements – Fabricated joints can be weak spots. In contrast, castings are produced as one piece and can leverage more organic geometries to integrate ribs, gussets, and other strengthening features. This means they are more structurally sound and durable in the long term.
  4. Quantity – Fabrication works if you only need a few pieces. Casting may be a more cost-effective option if you need hundreds of pieces. The break-even point gets even lower as the number of components increases in the fabricated assembly.
  5. Quality – Casting can improve quality and longevity by reducing welding stress, improving machinability, and increasing dimensional consistency and strength.
  6. Efficiency & Cost – Producing a large quantity of fabricated parts requires considerable welding time and cost. Multiple pieces also mean multiple drawings, more production and shipping coordination, and increased inspection time.
  7. Materials – With casting, you have great freedom to specify material options to tailor to the application.


Achieving Optimal Performance Through Casting

Our best practice is to align engineering with a casting expert during the design phase for any new component. This ensures that the material and process selection meets the design requirements. We also focus on what best suits your fit, form, and function needs to achieve quality standards at a competitive cost.

Another way we achieve optimal performance is by coordinating the casting process with the desired mechanical properties of the material. Understanding the end use for the casting helps us determine subsequent processing steps, like heat treatment or shot blasting, which can impact the mechanical properties. Our capable design team will help you choose the right material for the application and identify any secondary processes or testing to ensure the material properties meet your needs.


Working with EQI on Casting Conversion

EQI offers a streamlined process to help you successfully transition to cast products. We also have fabrication to casting conversion solutions for various components to reduce weights, optimize design, and decrease costs for OEM customers. When you work with us, you can expect the following process:

  • Work together to identify opportunities for casting
  • Provide design feedback on geometry, materials, and process
  • Give preliminary feedback on directional pricing
  • Create CAD model of new part
  • Validate the design using advanced modeling for flow and solidification
  • Provide a firm quote after the drawing/ design is finalized
  • Produce samples for PPAP approval
  • Launch production


Ready to Get Started? Contact us:




Blog Article

How You Can Save Time and Money with Cast Baskets

When it comes to the baskets your operation uses for heat treating and thermal processing, it may seem easier and more foolproof to choose the same bar frame baskets you’ve used for years. Hundreds of our customers, however, will tell you there’s a better way. Our cast baskets are engineered to withstand heavy-duty loading requirements that outlive and outperform traditional bar frame designs.


Are You Still Buying Bar Frame Baskets?

Many of our customers are die-hard bar frame basket buyers. And we do understand the appeal. First, bar frame baskets typically have quick lead times and are affordably priced. There’s no need for tooling to produce them, compared with cast baskets, which can be expensive. That said, there is a tradeoff that comes along with the affordability of bar frame baskets. Bar frame baskets have a lower level of carbon and nickel, which means they lose their integrity and shape in six months to a year. So, while paying less initially, you will purchase bar frame baskets more frequently–ultimately costing you more time and money.

Why Make the Switch to Cast Baskets?

The bar frame baskets you’ve been buying may work for your operation, but you might want to consider a more durable, consistent, heat-efficient option that can optimize throughput.

First, cast baskets hold their shape longer than bar frame baskets and have better heat efficiency. With a life span of one and a half to two years, their improved dimensional stability results in a more consistent end product. This reduces the need for post-processing or rework following the thermal cycle.

By leveraging our expertise in specialized fixturing and our cast baskets, you can achieve optimal loading and surface contact, preventing part deformation. In addition, our cast baskets offer a thinner wall cross-section, providing 7-10 percent more loading capacity than frame-welded basket designs.

When you decide to invest in our cast baskets, our team will help identify the best size, shape, and combination of components to optimize your loads. We will leverage our pattern inventory of hundreds of designs and sizes that fit most base trays and furnace hearths. We also offer a wide variety of premium materials to suit your processing temperatures.

Why Choose Pro-Tech for Cast Baskets?

Pro-Tech has decades of industry experience, with a strong focus on customer service, product design and performance, and personal sales assistance.

Our US-based experts have created a proprietary cast basket design and superior alloy that increases life expectancy by 50 percent. Without frequent basket replacement, your operations will run smoothly for longer. While the initial investment in the cast basket may be higher, you’ll see significant cost savings over the basket’s life.

With metal component experts Pro-Tech and parent company EQI, you can expect the performance guarantee that comes from an ISO 9001 quality system. Our foundry staff and metallurgical team continuously improve existing alloys and create new ones that increase cast products’ overall life and performance. As a baseline, we offer higher nickel content than our competitors, ensuring stronger, more durable basket walls.

When you’re ready to move forward with a Pro-Tech customized solution, the engineering process is easy. Our experts will create the drawing and collaborate with you on approval. Then, we’ll produce and ship your order. Some standard sizes are already in stock, making ordering even easier.

Once you’re in our system, you can participate in our stocking and replacement program. Our decades of experience in inventory management allow us to efficiently track your tray, basket, fixture, and replacement parts, ensuring zero downtime when you need to place an order.

Ready to make the switch? Contact one of our reps today.





EQI Named “Best and Brightest” for the Eighth Year in a Row

2023 was a year filled with new opportunities for EQI. We opened new facilities in Maryland, Kentucky, and Illinois and expanded operations in Canada, Northern Ireland, and Asia. This growth helped us earn recognition as one of West Michigan’s “2024 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” for the eighth year in a row.


The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For qualification identifies and honors companies that deliver exceptional human resource practices and an impressive commitment to their employees. Organizations are assessed based on communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention, and more.

At EQI, we know that people are our greatest asset. That’s why we have an unwavering commitment to employee well-being, safety, social responsibility, and ethical conduct throughout our operations. We’ve also implemented a “one-company, one-culture” strategy at our locations across the globe, extending our people-first approach to employees everywhere and continuing to evolve best-in-class benefits.

Are you interested in joining a company that’s constantly growing with new acquisitions, offers the opportunity to work with blue-chip customers, and remains committed to employee well-being? We’d love to hear from you!

Phone: (616) 850-2630





EQI Celebrates 20 Years of Growth and Partnership

Please join us in celebrating 20 years of incredible growth and innovation for EQI. What began as a one-man sourcing venture in Spring Lake, Michigan, in 2004 has transformed into a global metal products powerhouse. With over 375 dedicated associates spanning three continents, we’ve built an expansive international presence fueled by our relentless drive to supply line-ready metal components to many of the world’s most demanding customers.


Initially, EQI focused on gray iron counterweights for forklift trucks and other large mobile equipment. Over the next decade, we swiftly penetrated additional construction, forestry, and CNC machine tool manufacturing markets and expanded our sourcing to China and India. Today, we have become one of the largest diversified metal component companies importers in the US, with multiple manufacturing and service locations globally.

As we expand our industry impact and build exceptional teams, we will remain relentlessly focused on partnering with our customers to achieve long-term success. At EQI, we are committed to solving complex supply chain problems and providing value-add services, tailored solutions, and cost-effective quality. This commitment was our north star during our first 20 years, and it will continue to guide our efforts in the future.

Our 20-year milestone is a testament to the passion and tenacity of our people, and we’d like to thank all the EQI employees and customers who’ve made our success possible over the years. Our true differentiator is the expertise of our people and supplier partners, which, in turn, drives customer relationships built on partnership and trust. We’re grateful to everyone who has contributed to our growth and are excited to see what the future holds!




Case Studies

How EQI evolved into a center-of-gravity supplier for Hyster-Yale

For nearly two decades, EQI has been creating supply chain certainty for global companies. Since its inception in Spring Lake, MI, in 2004, EQI has become a leading provider of line-ready metal components. One of the most significant reasons for the company’s growth is the relationship it established with Hyster in 2006. Today, the company that’s now called Hyster-Yale partners with EQI to source components for a wide range of lift trucks and aftermarket parts.


Due to its extensive global network, EQI is the perfect partner for Hyster-Yale. The company has a strong international presence with manufacturing facilities and regional product development centers in the US, China, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, India, and Japan. EQI also has an extensive global network, with headquarters in the US, Canada, Vietnam, China, and India. In addition, EQI has 11 warehouses and finish painting locations across three continents and 30 customer fulfillment locations on six continents.

Because EQI sources products offshore, it’s well-equipped to be cost-competitive, meet quality requirements, store products near customers, and always have a team ready to serve. These capabilities were beneficial during the supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.


Solving Supply-Chain Challenges During the Pandemic

Over the past few years, COVID-19, unprecedented inflation, and material shortages have been incredibly disruptive for companies such as Hyster-Yale. Shortages across Tier 1,2 and 3 parts and components required significant changes in the company’s ordinarily steady supply chain. To address these challenges, Hyster-Yale turned to its core suppliers for help securing parts when and where they needed them.

As a key supplier for Hyster-Yale, EQI set the standard for overcoming supply chain challenges and meeting delivery dates in a crisis. First, EQI offered Hyster-Yale use of its freight forwarder, containers, and shipping contacts. EQI also found alternative sources for materials, mitigating risk by supplying parts that can be produced at multiple locations. 

For years, EQI has had multiple regional sources across China. So, when certain Chinese regions closed during the pandemic, EQI had other resources to turn to in China. EQI also became the first and largest customer of a foundry in India that produces cast iron counterweights. EQI’s strategic approach to sourcing materials in new regions set an industry precedent and helped them fulfill clients’ needs during the shutdown. 


Becoming a Center-of-Gravity Supplier

EQI has grown exponentially since 2004. Initially, the company focused on gray iron counterweights for forklift trucks and other large mobile equipment. Over the next decade, it entered new markets in construction, forestry, CNC machine tool manufacturing, and more. It’s also become a pivotal partner to several large-scale manufacturers by launching strategic initiatives to expand sourcing operations and offer value-added services.

For example, in late 2021, EQI acquired Industrial Paint Solutions in North Ireland, fueling EQI’s penetration in warehousing and finish painting services. The facility is also strategically close to Hyster-Yale’s plant in Ireland, allowing EQI to help them reduce working capital and warehouse production-ready parts according to Hyster-Yale’s line sequence and manufacturing schedule. EQI provides a similar value-added service in the US with a warehouse near Hyster-Yale’s largest manufacturing facility in Kentucky. The warehouse allows Hyster-Yale to keep fewer goods on hand while keeping line-ready components nearby. 

This is just the beginning of a long and successful partnership between EQI and Hyster-Yale. In the years ahead, the team at EQI will continue to uncover and solve problems for Hyster-Yale, helping them mitigate risk through tailored solutions, hassle-free logistics, and cost-effective quality. 

If you’d like to learn more about how EQI can solve your supply chain challenges, please contact:

Phone: (616) 850-2630




EQI Acquires Pro-Tech



Spring Lake, MI 2/19/2024 – EQI, a leading provider of line-ready solutions for metal products, has finalized its acquisition of Pro-Tech, a prominent supplier of metal products to the thermal processing industry. This strategic move underscores EQI’s commitment to diversification and expansion into key markets, positioning the company for sustained growth and success.


Established in 1985 by brothers Jim and Mike Barron and headquartered outside Chicago, IL, Pro-Tech has built a strong reputation for supplying high-temperature products utilized in various sectors including heat treating, steel production, lime production, cement production, and power generation. Pro-Tech’s proprietary products, coupled with its strategic approach of utilizing company-owned tooling and outsourcing production to high-quality foundries, have enabled it to establish a solid foothold in the thermal processing market.


Pro-Tech proudly serves a diverse customer base of over 100 clients, ranging from commercial heat-treaters to major players in heavy-duty truck manufacturing, power generation, automotive, and aerospace industries with captive heat-treating operations. With 90% of its revenue originating in the United States and additional contributions from Mexico, Canada, and India, Pro-Tech has effectively expanded its global footprint while upholding a robust presence within the domestic market. EQI is excited about partnering with Pro-Tech to further strengthen the company’s position and deliver enhanced value to its customers.


“We are thrilled to welcome Pro-Tech into the EQI family,” said Blake Phillips, President & CEO of EQI. “Their extensive expertise in the thermal processing industry and their commitment to quality align perfectly with EQI’s core values and strategic objectives. Together, we will leverage our combined strengths to deliver exceptional value to our customers and drive innovation in this critical sector.”


Under the terms of the acquisition, Pro-Tech will operate as a division of EQI, maintaining its focus on delivering high-quality products and services to its customers. EQI remains dedicated to fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence, ensuring a smooth transition for both teams, and further enhancing customer satisfaction.


About EQI, Ltd:

With an unmatched range of expertise and production capabilities, EQI is a leading provider of line-ready metal components that streamline and de-risk the supply chain for industrial equipment manufacturers. The company’s one-of-a-kind foundry network delivers high-quality metal castings, forgings, and fabrications on-time and on-budget. With a team of experts and locations in the U.S., Canada, China, India, Europe, and Vietnam, EQI’s tailored solutions mitigate risk and contain costs for manufacturers worldwide.


About Pro-Tech:

Pro-Tech is a renowned supplier of high-temperature products to the thermal processing industry, with a diverse customer base and a strong global presence. Established in 1985, Pro-Tech has built a reputation for quality and reliability, serving clients across various sectors including heat treating, steel production, lime production, cement production, and power generation.


For more information about Pro-Tech, please visit:



For additional details on how EQI’s new capabilities can assist you, please contact:


Phone: (616) 850-2630





EQI Unites to Deliver Certainty in an Uncertain World

August 2023

Spring Lake, MI


EQI and Accucam Machining, a division of EQI, are excited to announce the unification of both companies under the EQI brand following the successful integration of the business.


The highly detailed integration work enables a unified EQI and its nearly 350 associates to deliver synergies across the enterprise and provide compelling advantages to our customers and supplier partners around the world.  While much of the work was completed “behind the scenes”, with little to no impact to our valued customers and associates, the results have already been transformational.  The full integration and unification of these two great businesses provides tremendous opportunities across the value-chain from Sourcing and Production to value added services and product fulfillment.


With the integration complete, a united EQI offers an unmatched range of expertise and production capabilities for line-ready metal components that deliver certainty to industrial equipment manufacturers in today’s uncertain world.


To learn more about The EQI Advantage, contact us today!


Phone: (616) 850-2630