Going for Gold!

As Labor Day approaches, it signals the unofficial end of summer. And what a summer it was! The Summer Olympics wrapped up with a record number of medals won by U.S. athletes, the most golds out of any country and the most medals won by U.S. women in any Olympic games.

The gold medal is the ultimate prize for an Olympic athlete. Why gold? When the Olympic Games were revived in 1896, gold was chosen as the top prize because it was scarce, luminous in color, and represented the Golden Age of Greek mythology.

We aren’t Olympic worthy athletes but we do compete for gold every day. Our competition is in the form of running a successful company. And, our gold comes from the people who work with us. The BLM team is tested every day to meet the challenges of the industries we serve. Without our exceptional employees, we wouldn’t be a successful as we are. Their dedication, hard work, and loyalty are what keep us on top of the podium.

Both the U.S. and Canada celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September to honor worker’s contributions to the prosperity of the country. Encouraging employees to reach their potential is part of the competitive spirit in our company. We saw all those Olympic athletes encouraged to reach their potential throughout the games. The gold is within reach and this labor day we celebrate all the achievements of our highly valued golden team of employees. Our success is built on you and we win the race to the top because of you. Thank you!

On this Labor Day, we wish all of you a happy and safe holiday!

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In a Jam? Let BLM Solve Your Mechanical Troubles

In clutch situations (pun intended), not every manufacturer can come through with alternative solutions for originally specified equipment. That’s what sets BLM apart from other clutch manufacturers. Our portfolio of over 4,000 drawings enables us to modify designs for any challenging application.

It is one application in particular that we feel best represents our custom capabilities and extreme problem solving skills. The project involved an OEM customer in the City Waterworks industry and a 60 HP pump that was continually failing because the OEM clutch was unable to maintain alignment. This situation was very problematic as it disrupted service and prevented the system from operating properly. To maintain alignment between the between the drive and driven shaft, the OEM knew they needed a better clutch design.

Luckily for them they also knew who to turn to for a clutch that can be specifically designed for their application. Our solution consisted of an 8” GMG 80M3 clutch. This was a modification of a BLM drawing which used a gear coupling that allows for misalignment. The modified design also fit the space requirement while meeting tightest tolerances of ±0.003”. The most impressive part of this project is that we delivered 20 custom iron 8” centrifugal clutches in 3 weeks!

Special projects like this one are just one part of our comprehensive services. As a custom designer and manufacturer of centrifugal clutches for large and small applications, we are regularly called in to develop new solutions for existing problems. Our customers know that we can deliver correct clutch configurations for problematic applications and meet specific requirements.

Do you have unique requirements that demand a custom configuration? At BLM we are experts at designing, machining, and manufacturing centrifugal clutches that meet exacting project standards. Let us help you keep your systems running smoothly and efficiently and keep the jams on the toast!

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BLM Automatic Knows the Secret to a Long Life…

Recently, at BLM, we were talking about our elders and the oldest people we know. My father turned 98 earlier this year, and one of my co-workers had just turned 80. Not everyone is fortunate to know someone in their 90s, but many of us do. We live in a time when life expectancy is longer than ever before, and it’s a global trend. The Guardian recently reported, “Global life expectancy increases to 71.4 years,” and added, “Life is getting longer, at the fastest rate since the 1960s.” These observations are based on numbers from the World Health Organisation (WHO). In fact, last week, a website based in Australia (Finder.com.au) shared a world map identifying the average life expectancy for every country around the world using the WHO numbers.

Getting back to our conversation at BLM, we continued to chat about the people from older generations that we currently know, and we were marveling about how some of them have lived, and continue to live long, productive lives. We came to the conclusion that it’s people who have strong relationships and connections with others who seem to thrive the most. Relationships really do help us in life, and it’s these relationships that make us want to keep on living. They make us happy, they drive us to live fully, and they motivate and propel us to move forward.

These principles apply to business. It’s important to have great relationships with the people you work with – including the people on your team that you see every day, and also the people you serve in business. Keep in mind that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. (Source: BusinessInsider.com) Having positive, productive relationships with the people you work with definitely can serve you well in having a long life!

It seems that lately it’s become the easy and accepted thing to do in newer businesses to not consider having a true relationship with the people you work with. We know better at BLM, because we’ve been doing business for almost 85 years now – a long lifetime of experience in business designing and manufacturing centrifugal clutches for all types of applications.

The way we see it, we’re all spending more than half of our lives at work, so we might as well enjoy it! Many people simply work to retire, but others can never see themselves retiring at all. They thrive on the relationships they have with the people they work with, and the people they serve. I think most of us at BLM are like this, appreciating the relationships we have with our co-workers and our customers, and enjoying our work. It’s the positive interaction with other human beings that keeps us alive, in both our minds and our bodies.

So, getting back to the “secret” of a long life, it’s not really a secret at all. It’s having caring relationships with the people at work and the people you serve. Because, when you do have these relationships, it’s less like “work” and more like fun, serving and helping your friends. We also believe if you enjoy life, have fun in your business, and appreciate the people you’re fortunate to have relationships with, you’ll make the most of your time here on Earth – and hopefully that’s a long, fulfilling time! The secret to a long life isn’t a secret to us any more.


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What Cicadas, Marathons and BLM Automatic Clutch All Have In Common…

We recently read an article in The Washington Post, “Billions of Cicadas Will Ascend Upon the Northeastern United States as Another 17-Year Cycle Concludes.” In addition to introducing us to the website Cicada Mania, the article got us thinking: At BLM, we are like cicadas. Just because you don’t see the cicadas while they’re hibernating, it doesn’t mean they’re not evolving and moving forward, getting ready to come out from hibernation to do their thing.

Maybe you’re not familiar with cicadas? The cicada is an interesting insect, “best known for the songs sung by most, but not all, male cicadas.” According to Cicada Mania, the cicada life cycle begins as a rice-shaped egg deposited in tree limb grooves. The egg hatches and the cicada feeds off of the tree until it grows and falls off of the tree to the ground, where it digs to find roots to feed on. The cicada remains active underground, tunneling and feeding for up to 17 years, depending on the species. There are many different species of cicadas, all hibernating for different periods of time. One breed of cicadas hibernates for 17 years before coming out and serenading us, announcing its presence to the world. In general, their hibernation process prepares the cicada for success once it emerges into the world.

Regarding the activity that’s going on underground while a cicada is hibernating, the same is true about BLM Automatic and our automatic clutches: Just because you may not see us or hear about BLM Automatic clutches all the time, it doesn’t mean we’re not there for you, ready to “come out and make our presence known” when you need us. Our clutches are, in fact, working behind-the-scenes every single day, all around the world. They’re often needed, and given more opportunities for visibility, after tornadoes or major storms. But whether or not you see or hear about them, BLM Automatic clutches are always prepared to do the jobs at hand. At the same time, BLM employees are working behind the scenes, too. So, you may not be thinking about clutches — or us — all the time, but you can rest assured knowing that just like the cicadas, we are busy doing our thing. We’ve been in business since 1932, designing and manufacturing centrifugal clutches for all types of small and large applications, and we have been, and continue to be, in this business for the long haul.

And since we’re being so philosophical in this blog post, we’d like to point out that this type of thinking also applies to marathons, where going the distance takes time and commitment. There’s no rushing or immediate sense of urgency because, as a marathon runner, you are trained and prepared. There’s planning, consistency and persistence that takes you to the finish line. At BLM, we are like marathon runners, too, and we are NOT at all like sprinters. We are here for the long haul, consistently designing and manufacturing centrifugal clutches for small and large applications, and we’ve been in business for almost 85 years – that’s five 17-year cicada cycles! A very long time!

Whether you’re running a marathon, or you’re a cicada ready to emerge after a long hibernation, or you’re an automatic clutch ready to do your job, remember: Good things take time, and there’s a lot of work and preparation going on behind the scenes!

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Are You Doing Your Part for Earth Day? We Are!

This Friday, April 22nd is the 46th celebration of Earth Day. It was started in 1970 as a demonstration for a healthy and sustainable environment and has led to environmental awareness and public policies. Today, being ‘green’ is understood by everyone to mean that you, or your products, work toward protecting the natural resources of the planet.  

At BLM, we’ve been green for a long time. Earth Day doesn’t come just once a year for us—we understand the importance of green solutions. Our distinctive blue centrifugal clutches are energy efficient and offer many other green benefits giving manufacturers and industries an easy choice to make when considering their carbon footprint.

The outstanding performance of BLM’s centrifugal clutches is made better by helping to make a more sustainable future. Using a properly sized clutch cuts down on problems and uses less energy. More details on the benefits of energy-efficient BLM centrifugal clutches can be found in a previous post and on our website.

Hope you can get outside and enjoy the day!

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Tornado Season Is Here: Be Prepared For Cleanup Operations With BLM Automatic Clutches In Your Chippers And Equipment

The official 2016 “Tornado Season” has arrived in the U.S., with tornadoes already striking the East Coast and southern states in the late winter and early days of March. More tornadoes and “clusters” of tornadoes are predicted for the spring months. One recent report (Tornado Clusters Becoming More Deadly and More Common), says, “U.S. tornadoes are becoming more likely to strike in clusters. A NOAA study, published in October 2014 in the journal Science, showed a rise in the number of days with multiple reported tornadoes. Another study, published in July 2014 in the journal Climate Dynamics, found a similar clustering of tornadoes.” According to another weather resource, USTornadoes.com, a website dedicated to providing “the information people seek on tornadoes in the United States,” the U.S. can expect the tornado count to be “near normal this spring,” with 511 tornadoes being the average number of tornadoes occurring this time of year each year from 1991-2010.  

The expected occurrence of hundreds of tornadoes and more clusters of tornadoes means there will be lots of cleanups ahead. Fallen tree branches and scattered dirt and debris tossed by the tornadoes and other major storms this spring will require chippers, saws and other equipment to handle cleanup tasks. BLM Automatic Four Block Series clutches are commonly used in chippers used by municipal, utility and construction workers across the U.S.

We like to think our clutches help make everyone’s job a little easier, especially after a tornado or storm. BLM Automatic clutches do help make the cleanup of fallen trees and branches more efficient and easier to manage for the people involved in what can be a very stressful time. You don’t want to worry about a chipper starting or equipment being overloaded when you’re dealing with a tornado’s or a storm’s aftermath. Whatever the post-tornado or post-storm procedures might be, BLM Automatic clutches play an integral role in getting the cleanup and repairs done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Whatever the application, if it requires starting assistance and/or overload protection, our clutches can help do the job. BLM Automatic customizes the clutches we manufacture based on our customers’ needs and the specific applications. But, we produce two standard designs: BLM Automatic Four Block Series clutches with ¼-50HP, and Six Block Series clutches with up to 3,000HP. As we previously mentioned, the Four Block Series clutches are commonly used in chippers, and they’re also used in tampers, concrete pumps, mortar mixers and conveyors, and in many other applications. Six Block Series clutches are used in large and varied industrial and commercial applications.

But, getting back to talking about tornadoes and the spring cleanup season, we hope the predictions are wrong and this year proves to be a quieter year for tornado occurrences. Either way, please stay safe, and rest assured knowing that you’re prepared for cleanup operations with BLM Automatic clutches in your chippers and cleanup equipment.

Posted in Automation, Clutches, maintenance, STEM, Water pumps, Waterworks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BLM Automatic Will Continue to Help Miners in the New Golden Era for the Gold Mining Industry

Recent news and financial reports are predicting brighter days, increasing business opportunities and some good times ahead for the gold mining industry. Last week a LiveTradingNews.com report said, “Gold mining may have advanced a huge 64.5% and is currently just 8.55% away from a new 52-week high. After a brutal bear market that began back in August 2011, it looks like the precious metal miners have turned the corner and may be entering a multi-year bull market.”

Another recent report says, “Gold prices have soared nearly 20% so far this year… while silver and palladium rallied 12% and 10%, respectively. These precious metals have outperformed nearly every other commodity.” Just like we’ve been doing for many decades, BLM Automatic will continue to help miners in the days ahead – in what’s anticipated to be the new golden era for the gold mining industry. The anticipation of a bullish gold market and a new golden era for gold and precious metals is great news for the gold mining industry. It means there will be more demand for gold, and more extraction, separation and refining going on.

BLM Automatic centrifugal clutches keep gold mining operations running smoothly, and it’s something we’ve been doing for many years. As the gold market gets more bullish and continues to charge ahead to a new golden era, BLM Automatic will continue to be ready to help gold miners through every phase of the mining process: from the initial extraction, to the crushing by ball crushers and pulverizing mills, through all the handling of the gold to the refinement phases, and to the packaging and distribution at the end of it all.

Not just for gold mining, BLM Automatic clutches are used in every processing phase of the mining industries. They’re also used in any industry where raw materials are conveyed, and where material handling is involved.  For many years, many different types of industries, including precious metal mining industries, have relied on BLM Automatic to provide the highest quality centrifugal clutches. We design and manufacture many types of centrifugal clutches for a wide variety of applications, from the “big stuff” like military and defense applications, to smaller applications like clutches used in mixers in chemical labs — and a lot of medium-sized applications in between! BLM automatic clutches are used in the agriculture, construction, and packaging industries, and the list of industries goes on and on… While we don’t like to brag, we must point out that our clutches are considered the “gold standard” in all industries – not just mining!

BLM Automatic clutches are energy efficient, can be customized for specific industrial applications, and they are easy to maintain. Our centrifugal clutches also make it easy for our clients in the mining industries to take advantage of the golden opportunities anticipated for the days ahead… At BLM Automatic, we are ready to continue to meet the demands – and to continue to exceed our clients’ expectations – in a new golden era in the gold mining industry! To learn more about BLM Automatic, visit our website, or call us at 800-268-4295.

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Problems Most Commonly Solved by BLM Automatic Clutches

In our December blog post we explained how centrifugal clutches worked and why they are valuable components in industrial equipment. In this month’s post we are discussing how a centrifugal clutch can solve problems that may be stumping even the most experienced maintenance team.

In the course of a day, there are many practical problems that occur to slow down, stop, or damage mechanical equipment and as many practical solutions to remedy those problems. As we have experienced, many problems could be solved by using a properly sized centrifugal clutch.

A BLM clutch provides the following solutions to solve or eliminate common equipment problems (listed in boldface type) associated with these conditions:

  • Cuts the duration of high amperage draw when motor is starting to less than one second.
  • Overheating motors when starting is prevented by providing the equivalent of a no-load start.
  • Using oversized motors for starting, which can cause shock loads and bad power factor, are not necessary since the clutch enables using a motor with a capacity closer to the running load.
  • No need to use reduced voltage starters since simple across-the-line starters can be used with a clutch.
  • Starting shock, a condition that causes damage to moving parts and is a major cause of equipment maintenance, is not an issue with a BLM clutch since soft starts increase the life of components such as belts and gears.
  • Fragile materials (wires, thread, paper) are often subject to breakage as the result of stating shock; the gentile, low torque starting of a clutch eliminates breakage and downtime.
  • Difficulty of starting heavy loads is problematic but a clutch selected for cushioned, high torque starts can easily handle heavy loads.
  • Motor burnout because of overloads won’t occur with a clutch that slips before the motor is damaged.
  • High overload torque capacity of the motor causes overload damage. A properly selected clutch slips under the overload at a torque level lower than the motor capacity.
  • Sudden overloads that cause damage due to the flywheel effect of the motor rotor are eliminated because the clutch will slip when a jam-up occurs to protect against damage to the motor.

BLM has the experience and expertise to engineer custom centrifugal clutches that will solve the most challenging equipment problems. If you are experiencing any of the above problems, you will see immediate improvement after installing a centrifugal clutch from BLM.

Contact us to speak with an expert at solving difficult mechanical problems!


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The How and Why of Centrifugal Clutches

BLM designs and manufactures centrifugal clutches for a wide variety of small and large applications. They are integral components in machinery in almost every industry and the benefits of using a centrifugal clutch are many. This important component is ideal for starting po wer equipment safely and effectively.

How a centrifugal clutch operates

The main purpose of a centrifugal clutch is to connect the power source (engine, motor, turbine, etc.) to the load that is accelerated. It uses centrifugal force to turn the drive shaft and acts as a transmission activated by the increasing rpm of the engine. It uses centrifugal force to turn the drive shaft and basically acts as a transmission that is activated by the increasing rpm of the engine. Sizing the clutch to the running requirements of the load, and not the horsepower capacity of the motor, allows the motor to develop maximum torque and offers the advantage of using a smaller motor and gear reducer.

Utilizing a centrifugal clutch allows maximum torque with minimum current draw. This is the most efficient condition for accelerating the load as the clutch does the slipping and heat dissipation, preventing the motor from absorbing and becoming damaged by the heat. Clutches can be adjusted for capacity by varying the weight of the internal operating mechanism enabling a wide range within each clutch size.

Why choose a centrifugal clutch

When the clutch is properly selected it will eliminate BLM_Dec06084_001shock loading of the power train,
enable smooth acceleration, and provide overload protection to the motor and machinery if an overload situation should occur. BLM clutches are designed to:

  • Automatically engage and disengage
  • Enable motor start without load
  • Allow smooth acceleration without shock
  • Permit smaller motor use
  • Slip in overload conditions
  • Eliminate the need for starting equipment
  • Save energy when starting up

custom centrifugal solutionsCentrifugal clutches are widely used in machinery throughout industry, including mining, manufacturing, and the military, to protect motors from damaging conditions and to keep machinery running at optimal levels.

BLM’s centrifugal clutches are available in a wide range of sizes with custom solutions available for any application. To learn more about these products, please contact BLM today or visit our website.

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Coming Through in the Clutch—BLM Celebrates all Veterans

November is the month where we set aside a day to remember and thank our veterans for all they have sacrificed for us. On November 11th, the U.S. celebrates Veteran’s Day and Canada celebrates Remembrance Day. No matter what it’s named, it reminds us to consider all the sacrifices the men and women of the military make while protecting our freedoms.

At BLM Automatic Clutch, we don’t just think of our veterans’ one day a year but we recognize them daily. In fact, military personnel are readily in our thoughts as we have received the call to design and manufacture centrifugal clutches for defense industry applications.

In the past, our custom capabilities have been called upon to assist the Navy and the Army with components for special projects. One such project required us to manufacture a 6” clutch designed to for a 21 HP, 3600 RPM/1500 Idle chiller used during the Desert Storm conflict. We have also produced clutches that were critical components of shipboard helicopter elevators and ventilation systems for military tanks.

Innovative solutions are a core mission at BLM Automatic Clutch, and we are committed to meeting the needs of all of our customers no matter how rigorous the applications. The quality, service, and dedication in our work is what drives us to meet the high standards our customers require and deserve.

In honor of our men and women who have chosen to serve their countries with military service, we say, “Thank You.” You work to keep us safe, and we work to make products that will help keep you safe.

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