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What it Takes to Be an Electrician

Have you ever considered a career as an electrician? Let’s take a closer look into frequently asked questions to uncover what it takes to be an electrician at Lee.

  1. What schooling is required to become an electrician? After you earn a high school diploma, or equivalent, Lee welcomes applicants to apply for one of our electrical apprentice openings. Lee requires all apprentices attend a state-sponsored electrical apprenticeship program, which combines extensive on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. After four years, and 8,000 hours working under a master electrician as an apprentice, you are then eligible to take the journeyman test. Once you pass the test, many electricians will spend the duration of their career as a journeyman, or they work to become a master electrician. As a journeyman, you must work under a master electrician for two years and have 4,000 hours on the job before you are eligible to take the master electrician exam.
  2. What certifications are required? Anyone on an electrical crew in Michigan must have an apprentice, journeyman or master electrical license from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
  3. What types of projects do industrial electricians work on? You can gain a lot of experience as an industrial electrician. Projects vary depending on the industry. You may find yourself working in automotive, steel processing, battery manufacturing, testing, food and beverage, distribution, research and development, commercial build and more.
  4. What are the different types of industrial electrician jobs at Lee? There are many different positions available for those interested in industrial electrical work. Those positions include shop assistant, shop manager, purchaser, department manager, estimator, apprentice electrician, journeyman electrician, foreman, senior foreman and master electrician.
  5. How can electricians stay safe on the job? Lee provides all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including arc suits and clothing. All electricians at Lee are required to have NFPA 70E training to help avoid workplace injuries, as well as regular trainings provided by Lee’s in-house safety team.
  6. What is it like working as an electrician at Lee? Most of the electrical work performed by Lee is considered heavy industrial. Our electricians might find themselves disconnecting and reconnecting electrical components for a press move, upgrading power to a whole operation, performing a complete machine rewire and more! Additionally, Lee is a learning environment – all apprentices are enrolled in state electrical apprenticeship programs and work closely with experienced journeyman and master electricians. All employees have an opportunity for advancement within the company.

Interested in a career at Lee?  Learn more about what it’s like to work at Lee and view our current job openings here.

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Industrial Pipefitting Solutions

Any industrial facility relies on piping to perform crucial tasks and functions. Accordingly, securing reliable industrial process piping service is key, whether you need a new installation or require maintenance and repair of an existing system. With experience that spans for three decades, we stand out as a leader in industrial pipefitting. We offer a wide range of knowledge and capabilities, which allows us to tackle many diverse projects. The following are a few key traits that set Lee Contracting apart from the competition.

Different Piping Materials

The types of pipefitting materials your plant needs typically depends on the kind of work performed. For example, highly corrosive environments require stainless steel piping, since this material can withstand corrosive elements. Conversely, plastic piping systems often have applications in chemical processing and water treatment. We specialize in many types of materials to best serve your needs, including:

  • Carbon Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • CPVC
  • PVC
  • Galvanized
  • Copper Aluminum
  • Ductile Iron

Inventory

An integral part of our mechanical department is our fully stocked inventory of all piping and tubing materials. This advantage allows for quicker job turnaround and emergency service response for all your pipefitting needs.

Certifications

Our pipefitters are highly skilled and dedicated to providing the best piping solutions. The qualifications and certifications that we hold include:

  • Certified Victaulic installers
  • ASME B31.3 PVC and CPVC bonder qualification
  • ANSI/ASME B31 qualified welders for carbon steel and stainless steel pipe

Capabilities

When we combine our materials, certifications, inventory and experienced staff, our capabilities become endless. Below are some of the possibilities that our pipefitting department provides:

  • Quality design, installation and repair of all types of piping systems including complete cooling systems.
  • Process piping installations, including but not limited to the following: gas, hydraulic, compressed air, cooling water, refrigeration, coolant, steam and condensate, fuel, lube, material handling and vacuum.
pipefitting at lee
  • Joint methods include the following: grooved, welded, brazed, soldered, threaded, flared, glued, mechanical pressfit (propress), cone and thread and compression.
  • Complete rough and finish plumbing installations including water service piping, backflow installation, backflow certification and service.
  • Pipe insulation installation.
  • Chiller and pump skid rental and installation available.
  • 24/7, 365 days a year emergency service.

We bring all the above traits to every project, no matter the size or scope of the task. If you’d like to get started on a quote for an upcoming project, please visit our website.

You can also call (888) 833-8776 to receive your free quote today.

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Your Turn-Key Solution

At Lee Contracting, we specialize in foundations, rigging, electrical and mechanical. But what happens when we tie all four services together? When we utilize all our capabilities as a whole, we are able to provide the finest world-class turn-key services. This solution reduces project costs, reduces downtime and reduces the impact on customer operations. At Lee, we pair the best materials and equipment with the latest industry practices to provide a world-class product.

Foundations

Our highly skilled and experienced foundations staff is capable of completing nearly any type of concrete work. From our proprietary excavation technique, allowing us to install pits -60 feet from the finished floor with no disruption to surrounding areas, to our custom steel lined utility trenches, we gear our work around your project requirements. Along with specialized equipment foundations, we have the knowledge and ability to handle all the concrete work for your next building. From design/build to spec/bid projects, we can handle every aspect of your project.

Rigging

Rigging Capabilities

Our rigging department is dedicated and highly experienced in delivering rigging solutions to customers. From layout to final assembly, every project is completed with state-of-the-art equipment. Being in the industry for over 30 years, we bring experience which includes stamping presses, IMM & BMM, weld cells, machining equipment and much more. Our riggers travel all around the world to make sure you have an efficient, safe, and expedited experience with plant projects and relocations.

Electrical

Our electrical staff consists of master electricians who can provide services ranging from routine plant maintenance all the way up to major electrical renovations. Our industry-leading modern equipment keeps our employees on the job instead of in the repair shop. Our key advantage is keeping a large electrical supply in-house for a quicker job turnaround and emergency service response.

Mechanical

Our mechanical pipefitting staff are experts in all aspects of process piping. We specialize in the installation of all types of piping materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, CPVC, PVC, galvanized, copper, aluminum and ductile iron. Our key advantage is maintaining a fully stocked inventory of all piping and tubing materials to allow for quicker job turnaround and emergency service response.

Pipefitting Capabilities

Our HVAC department is prepared to handle any project when it comes to your sheet metal fabrication, installation, service and preventative maintenance needs. Our key advantage is maintaining a fully stocked sheet metal and fabrication shop to meet our customer’s needs, whether it is in a moment’s notice or a large planned out project.

Why You Should Use Our Turn-Key Solutions

  • Controlled Project Costs: We take control of every aspect of your job through shared economy of manpower and equipment across multiple trades. Account managers work closely with individual customers to ensure budgets are adhered to in the quoting and execution of a project.
  • Accelerated Timelines: Having all labor and equipment resources in-house allows us to mobilize rapidly and accommodate tight timelines. Our efficient crews are trained to work closely together to complete projects within the given time frame, often exceeding expectations. With 24/7 service, we are able to quickly resolve any emergency that may come up. As a turn-key company, we can cut down project completion time up to fifty percent of our competitors.
  • Minimal Impact on Customer Operations: We understand that downtime means money lost. We can work around production lines that are still running, during shutdowns or on a varied schedule that meets your needs. As a one-stop-shop, we guarantee minimal downtime and maximum efficiency.
  • Project Management: With every awarded project, we provide each customer with a full-time project manager who is responsible for coordinating all trades on-site. Having this single point of contact eliminates confusion and miscommunication while keeping the customer informed of project status.

Our turn-key solutions set us apart and make us an industry-leading contractor. Hiring a turn-key contractor is guaranteed to save you time and money. Our dedicated teams work across our in-house capabilities to accelerate your schedule. From rigging your heavy equipment to completing utility hookups, our solutions provide cohesiveness in your schedule.

Receive your free quote today or call us today at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can complete your next industrial project.

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Rigging Terminology

Last week we discussed different types of cranes and focused on hydraulic cranes. At Lee, we specialize in using our portable gantry cranes to move machinery and equipment. So how does a gantry crane system differ from a mobile crane?

A gantry crane is a type of overhead crane supported by freestanding legs that move on wheels or along a track or rail system. Gantry cranes are usually considered when there is a reason not to incorporate an overhead runway system. Unlike a bridge crane, a gantry crane does not need to be tied into a building’s support structure—eliminating the need for permanent runway beams and support columns. In some cases, this can result in a significant reduction in material costs and can be a more cost-effective solution compared to a similarly specified bridge crane. Larger gantry systems may run on a rail or track embedded in the ground, typically in a straight line in a dedicated work area. Smaller portable gantry systems run on castors or wheels and can be moved about a facility for maintenance or light fabrication work.

Rigging Terms

  • Portable Gantry Crane System – Portable gantry cranes are smaller lighter-duty gantry systems that run on casters or rubber wheels. These wheels allow the user to move it throughout a facility to handle various materials or loads. When they’re empty and not under load, they can be moved or stored anywhere throughout a shop or into different work cells to offer greater space-saving and floor space flexibility.
  • Semi-Gantry Crane System – Gantry cranes can also be designed with one leg riding on wheels or rails and the other side of the crane riding on a runway system connected to building columns or a sidewall of the building structure. These are advantageous because they can save you floor space / workspace. Unlike a bridge crane, this setup doesn’t need two runways supported by or tied back to building columns.
  • Shackle – A type of device normally used for lifting.
  • Sling – Wire ropes, chains, or synthetic fabric made into forms, with or without fittings, for handling loads.
  • Tag Line – A length of rope used to guide a load that is being lifted into the desired position.
  • Rigging Hook – A hook used as part of tackle. Any hook used in hoisting and rigging that is not the “primary hook” or main “load hook.”

Lee Contracting In-House Cranes

Lee Contracting’s in-house equipment includes cranes with capacities up to 300 tons and gantries with capacities up to 1,200 tons. We can complete your industrial project no matter the size or complexity. Not only can we complete any of your crane needs, we provide full turn-key solutions to assist with shutdown, start-up, hookups, maintenance and more.

Receive your free quote today or call us today at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can complete your next industrial project.

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Crane Terminology

Cranes are a widely used piece of equipment worldwide in many different capacities. Types of cranes vary depending on types of work in different situations. Crawler cranes, overhead cranes, hydraulic cranes and gantry cranes can be utilized to complete a variety of projects. Next week we will discuss gantry cranes and how our experienced rigging team completes heavy industrial projects using specialized processes and equipment. Let’s discuss the components of a mobile hydraulic crane as it is the most recognizable crane used in a variety of industries.

Crane Definitions

  • Carrier – The portion of the crane located below the turntable bearing.
  • Operators Cab – A housing that covers the operator’s station.
  • Outrigger – An extendable supporting device used to level the crane and increase stability.
  • Outrigger Float or Outrigger Jack – The hydraulic cylinder on the outrigger beam which extends vertically to raise and lower the crane for leveling.
Crane Terminology
  • Counterweight – Weight used to supplement the weight of the crane in providing stability for lifting loads.
  • Boom – Telescopic or fixed arm that is used to move objects.
  • Boom Hoist – Rope drum and its drive, or another mechanism, for controlling the angle of a lattice boom crane.
  • Boom Section – Individual lattice structure which are pinned together to form the boom attachment. Crane lattice booms are usually in two basic sections, tip and base. Such booms may be lengthened by insertion of one or more additional extension sections.
  • Load – The total superimposed weight on the hoist load block or hook.
  • Load Block – The assembly of hook or shackle, swivel, bearing, sheaves, sprockets, pins and frame suspended by the hoisting rope or load chain.
  • Hoist – A mechanical unit that is used for lifting and lowering a load via a hook or lifting attachment.
  • Hoist Chain – The load-bearing chain in a hoist.
Crane terms

Lee Contracting In-House Cranes

Lee Contracting’s in-house equipment includes cranes with capacities up to 300 tons and gantries with capacities up to 1,200 tons. We can complete your industrial project no matter the size or complexity. Not only can we complete any of your crane needs, we provide full turn-key solutions to assist with shutdown, start-up, hookups, maintenance and more.

Receive your free quote today or call us today at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can complete your next industrial project.

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Benefits of Waterjet Cutting

Over the years, waterjet cutting has become an increasingly popular cutting method used for a wide variety of projects. Compared with other cutting methods, waterjet cutting yields cleaner results, more precision and reduced costs without some of the drawbacks associated with other methods.

How Does Waterjet Cutting Work?

Waterjet cutting machines use a high-pressure stream of water, which is then converted to velocity via a jewel orifice, which then creates a stream as fine as human hair. The high-velocity process can cut through almost any material. When using abrasive cutting techniques, garnet, the abrasive material is introduced into the stream to increase pressure, resulting in a cutting velocity which is much faster. The force of the water and abrasive creates something akin to a liquid sandpaper mixture that erodes the material at a rapid pace.

From there, the abrasive jet stream is moved across the material, adhering to the measurements input into the control system. The ideal movement speed depends on several factors, including the material, the shape of the part, the water pressure and the type of abrasive.

Benefits of Waterjet Cutting

  • Cuts virtually any material
  • No secondary finishing required
  • Cold cutting process
  • Omni-directional cutting
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduces dust & hazardous gases
  • Saves raw material

Useful to a Variety of Industries

The diversity of a waterjet machine’s cutting ability allows the machine to be incredibly useful and valuable for a wide variety of industries. Here are a few industries that benefit from waterjet cutting:

  • Aerospace
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive

Lee Contracting WaterJet Cutting Services

At Lee Contracting, we use our waterjet in several different ways. This piece of equipment has become an integral part of the services we offer. Our services expanded to include cutting of rubber, cork, granite, aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel.

Waterjet Cutting example

Lee Contracting’s Other Fabrication Services

Lee Contracting has a state-of-the-art in-house fabrication shop with full capabilities. Our expert fabricators handle custom design and installation of everything from stairs and mezzanines to pump skids and structural steel layouts. Utilizing our extensive list of fabrication equipment, Lee Contracting can complete all your fabrication needs.

Visit our website to learn more about our fabrication & turn-key solutions to complete your job safely.

Get started on a quote for an upcoming project by filling out our online form. You can also call (888) 833-8776 to speak with a representative today.

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Foundations in Cold Weather

Pouring concrete in the winter can cause major problems in the quality and longevity of your new foundation. If newly poured concrete is not given the appropriate environment to cure, the concrete is likely to be damaged. This is due to the water in the concrete mix freezing and expanding, resulting in weak concrete. The American Concrete Institute defines cold weather as three or more consecutive days of low temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and air temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a 12-hour period.

When pouring concrete in cold weather, the concrete needs to be protected until it can handle the cold on its own. The general rule is that concrete must reach a strength of 500psi. At almost the same time that the concrete achieves 500psi strength, the cement has consumed enough of the water in the original mix so that even if it does freeze, there’s not enough water left in the pores to damage the concrete. With most concrete this happens 48 hours after the pour.

To help the concrete reach 500psi, there are two things we can do in cold weather: Change the mix to get it to set more quickly or protect the concrete from the cold—or more likely, both.

workers in Cold Weather

Mistakes to avoid when pouring concrete in cold weather:

  • Not scheduling work around weather
  • Pouring on frozen ground
  • Allowing concrete to freeze
  • Not using heaters
  • Not using real-time temperature sensors

You must ensure that concrete is cured properly for safe removal of forms and shores and for safe loading of the structure during and after construction.

Our foundation experts work to ensure the highest quality on your project. Our experience guarantees a successful foundation for all your industrial projects.

Get started on a quote for an upcoming project by filling out our online form. You can also call (888) 833-8776 to speak with a representative today.

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Forklift Safety

Forklift accidents are often responsible for creating costly delays, potential lawsuits and stressful work environments. However, the human cost of forklift misuse is far greater. An estimated 85 people die annually from forklift accidents, according to OSHA statistics. Overall, nearly 100,000 workers are injured per year as a result of forklift misuse.

Nearly 35,000 serious forklift accidents happen annually according to OSHA. Almost half of those accidents take place in manufacturing facilities. Construction, warehouses and transportation also see their share of forklift collisions. Some accidents are due to driver error. Inadequate training and poor forklift safety design also cause mishaps and injuries. Here’s everything you need to know about forklift accidents and how to keep yourself and other employees safe in the workplace.

Types of Forklift Accidents

Accidents vary according to the kind of forklift and the work the forklift and driver are performing. Some forklift hazards are:

  • Driving off a loading dock
  • Falls between loading docks and trailers
  • Falls from lift tines or elevated pallets
  • Collisions with pedestrians

Why are Forklifts Dangerous?

Forklifts can be dangerous if used improperly. Forklifts are heavier in the rear to compensate for the heavy loads being carried in the front. This uneven weight distribution can make a forklift difficult to handle. Other reasons forklifts can be a dangerous piece of equipment:

Forklift Safety
  • Forklifts can weigh up to 9,000 pounds
  • Forklifts can travel up to 18mph
  • Forklifts only have front brakes, making them harder to stop
  • Forklifts are often used to raise hefty loads to considerable heights, a dangerous combination

HOW TO IMPROVE FORKLIFT SAFETY

Improve Housekeeping

Maintaining a clean jobsite will allow for safer use of all equipment including forklifts. Keep the floor/ground clear of debris, move large equipment, trash, workers’ personal items and any other potential hazards out of the forklift’s route. Narrow aisles, excessive dust and raised platforms are common workplace design problems that need to be kept in mind while planning a forklift route.

AVOID DANGEROUS BEHAVIORS WITH TRAINING

OSHA has found that nearly 70 percent of all forklift accidents could have been avoided by following correct training and policy. Human error is a common culprit behind forklift accidents. Adequate operator training is key in avoiding accidents. Forklift operators can accidentally drive forklifts off loading docks, carry unstable loads and tip over and strike a fellow employee around a blind corner, just to name a few potentially deadly circumstances.

Safe practices for drivers include:

  • Loading the forklift so that operator visibility is not impaired
  • Ensuring fellow workers in the area know there is an operating forklift nearby
  • Avoiding excessive speeds
  • Taking extra caution when coming around blind corners, doorways and other areas of high foot traffic

Employees who are not involved in forklift duties still have a responsibility to keep themselves out of harm’s way. Here are some safety tips:

  • Keep a safe distance from the forklift at all times
  • Make eye contact with the driver if approaching a moving forklift
  • Do not walk under raised forks
 Safety on a Forklift

IMPLEMENT A SAFETY PLAN

Having a forklift safety program at your business helps keep your employees safe. The recommended forklift safety program includes regular vehicle check-ups and making sure that the equipment is only used for its intended purpose. Proper use of equipment is crucial to prevent accidents and ensure that your workspace remains safe. Taking the time to examine forklifts and determine that each forklift is up-to-date on breaking mechanisms, warning lights and mechanical features is paramount to keeping your workers safe. Using the proper equipment for the task at hand is key to keeping your workplace accident free. There are a variety of different forklifts for different needs, and it is key to use the right lift for the right task.

At Lee Contracting, the safety of our personnel is top priority. Learn more about our safety department and how we stay safe.

Call us today to receive your free quote (888) 833-8776 or visit our website.

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Boiler Maintenance

Having a fully working boiler that provides you with hot water and heating is essential. Having your boiler serviced on an annual basis will make sure that your boiler is running properly, and any small issues are dealt with before they become bigger problems.  Many companies tend to focus solely on immediate issues that arise – repairing or replacing parts when something goes wrong and reacting to urgent matters. While reactive maintenance is necessary in certain situations, transitioning to preventive maintenance is a strategy that will save both time and money, as well as help operations to run more smoothly.

Cost

Emergency repairs are more costly than performing preventive maintenance on your boiler. Damages to your facility and equipment can be a result of an improperly maintained boiler and pipes. Your final repair bill would be higher compared to the cost of simply maintaining your boiler.

Dangers

If your boiler, and therefore your heating system, run off gas or oil, any fault that it develops has the potential to give off carbon monoxide. Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is both odorless and tasteless which make it very difficult to detect. It only takes a very short time for carbon monoxide to take its hold and inhaling the gas can result in either a coma or death. Faulty heating is linked to the deaths of around 50 people each year caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electrical & Mechanical Preventive Maintenance

Your boiler shouldn’t be the only piece of equipment that receives maintenance on a regular basis. Many electrical & mechanical systems require maintenance to keep your facility running. Preventive maintenance is not about fixing problems. Its focus is on preventing those problems from happening in the first place. It includes activities such as cleaning, lubrication, adjustments, repairs, and parts replacement. Each of these activities is performed to keep equipment running in top condition and to prevent downtime and reactive fixes.

Boiler Maintenance

How Preventive Maintenance Saves You Money

  • Reduced Downtime
  • Increase Operational Efficiency
  • Reduce the Risk of Expensive Reactive Maintenance
  • Increase the Life of Equipment
  • Improved Customer Service

Interested in implementing an effective preventive maintenance plan for your business? We can help determine what maintenance plan and what your equipment needs.

Contact us today or call us at (888) 833-8776 to learn how we can manage your production with preventive maintenance.

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Driving Safely

Driving is something that we all do for our job, whether commuting to the office or driving to a job site. With an average of 6 million car accidents each day throughout the United States, we do not expect to be entirely exempt. According to auto insurance industry experts, the average driver will be in a car accident once every 18 years or so. This means that over the course of a drivers lifetime, they will be in about 4 car accidents.

 

Be aware of your surroundings. On the road or on the job site, be aware of your surroundings and those around you. Never assume that others see you. Drive defensively, check your blind spots and use your turn signals at the appropriate time before moving over to let those around you know of your intentions.

Use your lights. Many drivers only turn their lights on at night. However, on a foggy, rainy, or snowy day, your lights make you more visible to others as well as increase your visibility. Even if you think, “Well, I can see fine,” turn your lights on anyway. It will be beneficial for you and the other drivers on the road.

Get over. In February, Michigan expanded the move over law which mandates that motorists slow down by 10 mph below the posted speed limit and when possible, move over a lane when passing a police or emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Over a dozen Michigan Police Officers have been struck by vehicles on the side of the road since January. Failure to get over could not only result in a $400 ticket but also puts other lives at risk.

Don’t drive distracted. Every day, about every 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured from an accident involving a distracted driver. Phone use is a major distraction from driving. On average, it takes most people 5 seconds to take their eyes off the road to read or send a text. At 55 mph, that equates to driving the full length of a football field with your eyes closed. Most phones now have a ‘Driving Mode’ that disables notifications from becoming a distraction while driving.

contractors driving safely
Photo by: Brian Sevald – brian@briansevald.com

At Lee, all drivers are taught general safe operating procedures and safe procedures applicable to their individual vehicles. From the start of the day to the end, safety is our focus.

Schedule your conversation with us by calling (888) 833-8776 or fill out our online form.