Gunnebo Johnson Corp.
Throughout its history and despite a variety of mergers and acquisitions it has experienced over the years, Gunnebo Johnson Corp. has worked toward becoming the name synonymous with heavy lifting in the oilfield, crane and mining industries. Today, through the backing of international parent company Gunnebo Industries of Sweden, Gunnebo Johnson is on its way to becoming the leading choice to fill orders for lifting equipment for project managers throughout the world.
“We want to be known as the specialist in the heavy lifting industry,” President Craig Aszkler says.
The company was founded in the 1950s as Johnson Block, which was an entrant in the oilfield and lifting block industry. It was later acquired by Hinderliter Industries, a producer of wellheads and other oilfield tools. The company expanded these lines with overhaul balls, wedge sockets, swivels, specialty blocks and a complete line of snatch blocks and sheaves, which are common throughout the oilfield and lifting industries.
As a subsidiary of Gunnebo Industries, Gunnebo Johnson is able to sell its products through a network of U.S.-based and international sales offices while designing and manufacturing its products at its facility in Tulsa, Okla. Approximately 30 percent of Gunnebo Johnson’s business stems from custom orders, 50 percent of which are completely new items designed to exact specifications from the customer as opposed to modifications to existing items.
Gunnebo Johnson conducts most of its business with OEMs and resellers throughout North America. It has the capabilities to design and manufacture applications for offshore and onshore projects, as well as underground and underwater jobs.
With technological advances continually speeding up the way we share information, Gunnebo Johnson is constantly updating its IT capabilities to better serve its clients. Aszkler says Gunnebo Johnson must be able to support its clients as a true international firm.
“The world is getting smaller and information travels faster,” he says. “Many of the customers are global entities or multinational companies, and we need to grow our capabilities to support them as well in a multinational environment.”
Aszkler says this includes sourcing products internationally to find the best pricing of materials in the world as well as certifications and standards, which typically vary greatly between countries. “Part of our core competency is to understand and support various international standards,” he adds.
“We have inventory of product in our nationwide warehouses as well as our sister companies globally, including a central European warehouse located in Gothenburg, Sweden,” he says. “We can provide local support and import product through our global subsidiaries when customers require that. This is the benefit of working with us.”
An example of Gunnebo Johnson’s ability to leverage its international presence to best serve a client is the order it is filling for the Asian Hercules III project. Franklin Offshore of Singapore approached the company to manufacture lifting tackle, blocks, equalizer beams and sheaves for the 5,000-metric-ton project. Asian Lift Pte. of Singapore – a joint venture between Keppel Fels Ltd. and Smith Singapore Pte. Ltd., two of the leaders of the worldwide marine industry – is the owner of this project.
The crane ship will perform offshore lifting tasks in the Far East with the capability of lifting up to 11 million pounds. Like its predecessor Asian Hercules II, it is mobile and can work anywhere in the world. The Hercules II is a comprehensive tackle and lifting beam system design, and was provided to Asian Lift Pte. by Gunnebo Johnson 15 years ago. It is capable of lifting 3,200 metric tons, or 7 million pounds.
To produce the AHIII block assembly, Aszkler says Gunnebo Johnson has used everything at its vast disposal. The vessel itself is being produced in China after the order was sold through a sales office in Singapore. Aszkler also says a third party specified the design, and ABS – a leading marine and offshore classification society – has written the safety standards that will certify Hercules III for operations.
“We have to coordinate with all those different parties to be able to successfully build that,” he says. “That is a large task.”
Coming to Market
Gunnebo Johnson constantly is on the lookout for the next item in demand from the industries it serves. The latest is a line of sheaves, which range in diameter from six to 118 inches.
Along with producing the sheaves themselves, Gunnebo Johnson is tweaking the manufacturing process behind the production of the sheaves. Aszkler says the company is investigating different materials that can be used for the sheaves that will allow Gunnebo Johnson to produce the sheaves faster, determine how to best deliver a self-assembling tool kit and devise more applications beyond the oilfield and lifting industries.
As Gunnebo Johnson exemplifies on a regular basis, its unparalleled level of experience and worldwide access to design, labor and material resources have lifted the lift manufacturer to its own level, according to Aszkler.
“We’ve got experienced analysis capabilities to come up with unique solutions,” Aszkler explains. “We design and manufacture the highest-quality products on the market. And from years of experience, we have a proven pedigree that our blocks and sheaves last a long time.” EMI