For the first time in company history, the folks at Southwire Tool’s & Equipment, invited tool reviewers to visit their corporate headquarters in Carrollton, Georgia. We had the pleasure of meeting the staff, touring the factories, viewing their state-of-the-art training facility, hours of hands on product training and learned they had a high school internship program onsite. It was an eventful week, which proved their innovative thinking and understanding of the consumer in developing cutting edge products. While thinking Southwire was just a manufacturer who pioneer’s ground-breaking technology, we learned they pride themselves more on giving back and investing in the community.
When we first arrived at their facility, we were greeted by staff and escorted to the conference room, where we listened to the Director of Marketing provide a history of the company and what to expect during our trip. We headed over to their new training facility and was blown away! There were simulation rooms, testing equipment, hand tools, meters, cable pulling equipment…everything an electrical contractor would need on the jobsite. We had the opportunity to see/learn how easy it was to move 1700lbs of wire, using the Southwire SIMpull Flanges. They allow one person to turn a wooden real up to 34” and loads up to 2000 lbs. A much safer alternative than traditional methods, which also replace the need for jacks and arbor tube/conduits.
Another impressive demonstration was the cable pulling test. A cable reel was positioned on two Southwire Projax stands ($2267.94) and adjusted accordingly. The Maxis Cable Feeder ($6566.95) was used to feed the cable up and through the conduit. Used in conjunction with the cable feeder, was the SIMpull Cable Guide System ($3950.95), used to channel the wire to the appropriate area. As well as the Maxis Grips ($512.95 – $2585.95), used to lock in the wire, which easily navigated through conduit and around 90° bends. On the other end was the Maxis Cable Puller ($2,008.95 – $3,995.95), pulling the cable from over 100 feet away. The results were impressive! Who would have thought pulling cable would be so easy? The folks at Southwire sure make it easy for electricians to feed, pull, bend, measure…pretty much have all the necessary tools to complete the job.
We also had the opportunity to demo their new Southwire Simpull Fish Tapes ($37.78 – $98.98) Their Fish Tapes were impressive because they had a proprietary polymer coating that reduced the effort to push or pull the fish tape through EMT and/or PVC conduit. Product was light weight, flexible and didn’t knot up or break when folded. Their SIMpull Fish Tapes are available in different lengths, non-conductive and metal leader tapes as well.
The hole cutting demo was impressive, especially on how easy it looked! Their bi-metal holesaws were fast cutting and cuts through steel, aluminum, bras, wood, plastic and drywall. The hand tool product line was loaded with innovative tools. Including wire cutting, wire stripping and splicers. Tons of options, all easy to use and proudly made in the US!
The Southwire meter demo seemed like a science experiment! Had the opportunity to learn more about their Bluetooth meter technology and how easy it was to download, view and email readings. Once you download the Southwire MAPP mobile app, you can view readings and easily share them accordingly. You can also record sessions from your mobile phone, add photos, notes and share data amongst several crew members.
Above we discussed how impressive their pulling equipment was, but we had no idea its strength properties as well! The demo started by seeing if eight people can out pull the Maxis XD10 Extreme Duty Cable Puller ($10,971.95), which they failed miserably. Then we realized they had no chance when the cable puller pulled a fully loaded semi! It was extremely impressive!
Bending conduit is never easy, well, that is until you’ve tried the Southwire BENDstation. We like how the handle adjusted to various heights, making it easier for anyone to bend conduit, regardless of your height. While several people experienced bending conduit, not one of them showed signs of struggle. Their 60” ruler on the station made marking easy and quicker and safer than alternative solutions. The BENDstation cart also stored 900 feet of conduit, table height was at a comfortable 36” height…overall it avoided bending over to “eye ball” measurements.
The following day, we kicked things off by learning more about their cords and lighting. They performed a heat demonstration to show the durability of the Southwire Royal Rubber Outdoor Cord as it outlasted traditional cords. It was truly impressive! Check out the video!
While we took an active role in learning about Southwire’s products, we also had the pleasure of touring some of the facilities such as the “North Campus Facility”, Rod Mil and 12 For Life High School. By far, the most impressive and exciting part of our tour, was learning about the 12 For Life program. Southwire saw an opportunity to improve the “only 3 out of 10 high school students will not graduate in the US” rate. Southwire partnered with the district to develop a high school, providing students an opportunity to gain work experience, an education and a job post their education. They provide students with classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills and mentoring. They’re helping kids stay in school, graduate and go on to become successful, productive members of the workforce – ensuring those real-world skills translate into real-life success. As Southwire puts it “It’s hope. It’s experience. And it’s working.”.
To wrap up our trip, the folks at Southwire provided outstanding hands-on training, demos, facility tours and a better understanding of what it means to do things the “Southwire way”! They’re an innovative company who continues to push the limit in driving new products, optimizing processes and giving back to their community. We look forward to seeing their new product innovations as we’re confident they’ll continue to impress the market!