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Hagler Expanding to Meet Market Demands

Hagler Systems has added a job shop for machining, fabrication, welding, sandblasting and painting, in support of their operation to supply pumps and pump bases to the dredging and mining industries. The company is the North American representative for GIW Industries dredge pumps, and is run by brothers and owners Bob, David and Ben Hagler.

Besides pumps, the Haglers provide other equipment and technical services to the North American dredge market, specializing in standard dredges, cutters and dredging components, dredge pumps, slurry transport systems, complete booster stations, customized control systems and drive components, as well as customized automation and monitoring systems.

A visit to their North Augusta, South Carolina facility reveals that Hagler Systems provides full service on all of the products they sell, enhanced by the new shop.

"Having our own job shop allows us to effectively complete our engineering vision in regards to base design (the supporting structure under the pump, gearbox and motor) and assembly, as well as to cater to local Augusta industries such as chemical plants (DSM Chemicals, Procter & Gamble, and PCS Nitrogen among others) for their custom-machined parts needs," Ben Hagler says. He explains that between base assemblies and other dredge-related jobs, the fabricators stay busy outside the dredging industry. For example, railcar maker TTX has ongoing projects with Hagler.

Ben Hagler also points out that while they provide pumps, pipes and other dredge and slurry components, Hagler Systems is now able to offer existing pump customers, such as the local sand plant operation of Rinker Materials, fabrication services that include cleanouts and custom-machined parts such as shafts. Hagler Systems is constructing a 15-foot ladder extension for Rinker, a project involving re-working trunion pins, installing a new cutter shaft, replacing the existing suction line, and replacing pipe hangers and hanger assemblies.

The addition of the job shop and the growth of dredge and mining sales also meant a necessary addition of human resources. David Johnson joined Hagler Systems in July 2003 as shop foreman. With 23 years of design and supervisory experience in the textiles market, as well as previous ownership of a successful job shop, Johnson was a natural candidate to oversee the growth of Hagler Systems machining and fabricating services. Besides supervising 20 shop employees and acting as the sales representative for the local job shop market, he works closely with the engineering department during the design and drawing stages of dredge and mining projects, including sub-base assemblies and cleanouts.

"Being right next door to the engineers has been critical in regards to design and time efficiency during the fabrication and assembly process. The shop has been able to communicate and coordinate with the engineering department to troubleshoot and make improvements on the fly," said Johnson.

Automation engineer for the firm is Gary Schneiter. His role in Hagler Systems is lead developer and project manager of shipboard control and survey equipment for the dredging industry. Before joining Hagler Systems in March, 2002, Schneiter worked with a dredging contractor designing and overseeing construction of two control systems on a newly-built booster barge. His work history also includes experience as the System Analyst Manager for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. At Walt Disney, Gary was responsible for the design and management of multiple large-scale control systems in an industrial filtration environment using pumps, actuators, level, temperature and many other types of sensors. He also redesigned electrical controls, removed the old Bristol Babcock control system, and rewired the new system using Opto 22 equipment for The Living Seas, the world's largest aquarium. This experience has benefited Hagler Systems where his projects include integrating dredge controls with HYPACK's DredgePAK positioning program.

As the Hagler brothers concentrate on dredge and mining market sales, professional engineer Raymond Boudreaux, brings 37 years of machinery design experience to the team, including 31 years design and project experience in marine winches, windlasses, capstans, and other deck machinery for dredges, tugboats, off-shore supply boats, and vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Army Corps of Engineers. One of Boudreaux's projects is a 1250 horsepower hydraulic fluid power system for a test facility. He is also working with McElroy/Catchot, designing a towing winch with 36-metric-ton line pull and 112-metric-ton brake capacity, as well as a bow anchor winch for two Voith 30-meter tractor tugs.

David Hagler mentions an ongoing $1 million pumping system redesign project for PCS Phosphate, a mining company in Aurora, North Carolina. In addition to providing system analysis and engineering for this project, Hagler Systems is designing and fabricating the turning gear, the 24-inch cleanout, and adapter plates for existing pump bases. As on many other projects, the engineering department collaborates on design with GIW and Hagler Systems fabricators to meet customer specifications.

PCS's pipelines consist of from 26,000 to 28,000 feet of 34-inch HDPE pipe, depending on discharge point.
"The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for two of the pumps used in their Clay-Blend Pumping System had gone out of business, and PCS was having difficulties finding parts," David explains. "The parts they were getting were not meeting their needs. When the pumps could not pump any farther, PCS was faced with the decision to either invest in a booster station or to convert to a more efficient design. Hagler Systems is now working with PCS to replace their existing Clay-Blend pumps with GIW pumps.," he says.

These standard pumps have stocked parts, and their increased efficiency allows for decreased operating costs due to power savings.

Production engineer Jeremy Pierce with PCS Phosphate agrees.

"This project will replace the two existing 24"x27"x 83.5 pumps with 24"x 24" GIW LSA 62 pumps on the blend pumping system. The replacement will increase total system capacity to 28,500 gpm @ 1.2 SG slurry and will provide the capability to pump blend to all future reclamation areas within the NCPC tract. This can be achieved without an additional pumping station or changes to the pipe specifications. PCS will also realize annual power savings of $190,000 by using GIW pumps, which will reduce power consumption and increase wear life," said Pierce.

Another customer of Hagler Systems, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Starke Florida, realized savings through the collaborative design efforts of Hagler Systems and GIW. The engineering department customized an underwater pump application that did not require stuffing box packing or seal water. Project managers estimate that the application could result in an annual savings of $250,000 to $350,000.

Seattle-based Manson Construction Company has also turned to Hagler Systems to provide components for their new 12,000-cubic-yard hopper dredge. Bob Hagler is working with GIW to provide three dredge pumps (LHD 38 x 38 x 58.10), and three jet pumps (LSA 8 x 10 x 32.5). The bases (supporting structure under the pump, gearbox and motor) will be designed and fabricated by Hagler Systems. Hagler will also manage installation of a bow discharge system, hopper nozzles and dragheads supplied by VOSTA LMG.

While Hagler Systems has expanded their operations and their customer base, the Hagler brothers, descendents of former major shareholders of GIW Industries, remain true to their roots. As Bob Hagler puts it, "We're not selling pumps, pipe or other products - we're providing solutions."

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