Alps Wire Rope Corporation, based in St. Charles, Illinois, remains an industry leader, half a century after it was founded. Alps carries an extensive range of wire rope products, including cable and strand items manufactured from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and carbon steel.
Alps has products specifically designed and manufactured for gas and oilfields purposes, elevator and hardware use, general purpose, cranes, winches, construction, commercial marine applications, government, garage doors, lifting and rigging, mining, oil, gas and water drilling, railroads, sailing, and other sectors. Alps is dedicated to providing clients across all sectors with outstanding customer service and superior products at reasonable prices. Its wire ropes can be as small as 1/32 of an inch in diameter up to three inches in diameter.
And with the large influx of European-designed equipment coming into the United States over the last twenty years, Alps stocks an extensive inventory of metric sizes alongside imperial size rope throughout its product line. “Now, metric is as common as the imperial sizes, so we speak in metric and imperial terms,” says company President Brad Benner.
Alps has sold metric rope since the 1990s, and it is popular for applications such as sailboats, architectural rigging, elevator rope, crane ropes, and general-purpose products. “As time has gone on, there’s been a greater demand for metric, so I’d say in the last five years, we’ve made a big emphasis on maintaining stock levels for those and not really considering them to be specialty items but standard stock items for us.”
The business was first known as All Purpose Ropes back in 1968 before becoming known as Alps brand, then Alps Corporation. Alps’ distribution network across the United States ensures products are in stock, readily available, and delivered quickly. As well as its headquarters in St. Charles, about forty miles west of Chicago, Alps Wire Rope has three other locations, in Houston, Texas; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and most recently in Whittier, within California’s Los Angeles County.
“We’ve always done a lot of stainless steel out there, but we are putting a heavy emphasis on the smaller crane ropes and elevator ropes as far as our sales efforts go,” says Benner. The company maintains a sizeable inventory valued at over $14 million, including wire rope products along with galvanized fittings, hardware, chain, and many other items. It works with world-class mills and sells to major wire rope fabricators and industrial distributors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Its fulltime staff of twenty-six is made of salespeople and product specialists, including one employee who concentrates on oil and gas and a national sales manager who handles large original equipment manufacturer (OEM) accounts like Manitowoc – one of the world’s largest providers of lifting equipment for the construction industry – along with Finland-based Konecranes, and several large elevator manufacturers.
Additionally, Alps has staff on the West Coast who take care of the region, and someone in Houston who looks after clients there. The oil and gas and elevator markets are on the rise. “We have been picking up a lot of speed right now, trying to catch up with oil and gas demands,” states Benner. “It started out with oil and gas being really strong at the beginning of the year and elevator, and now everything seems to be catching up with it. We’re pretty excited about the second half of the year.”
Clients that purchase products from Alps Wire Rope are investing in top-quality wire ropes and benefitting from the many years of experience held by Alps’ dedicated staff. Alps ensures customers purchase the best available wire rope products and accessories for their exact requirements.
The company counts many of the world`s largest crane companies among its clients including Broderson Manufacturing Corp., Mi-Jack, Columbus McKinnon Corporation, and ACE World Companies. It also works with local rigging shops for sailboat customers and has catalogue distributors that sell product out of Miami, Long Island, and Southern California.
The company has a large network of rigging distributors for the lifting and rigging portion of the business and works with distributors throughout the country. On the oil and gas side, Alps regularly sells to customers in Texas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas, Kansas, Wyoming, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The company supplies OEM elevator manufacturers like elevator and escalator company Kone and American manufacturer Otis Elevator. It also provides product to ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Elevator, and some independent companies and distributors.
Alps utilizes carriers such as less-than-truckload (LTL) freight through FedEx to get its wire rope products to customers. The service can handle product up to 5,000 pounds per piece. It also employs UPS or flatbed or hotshot services, in the case of oilfield customers, which require wire rope as soon as possible for drill sites.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, but most of it goes by LTL carrier, especially to the distributors and the OEMs, because distributors are just buying stock, and a lot of time, for the big stuff, they will buy it, cut it to length, and have it shipped to their customers, so they don’t have to handle it,” says Benner.
Alps anticipates plenty of growth over the next five years as it focuses more on the high-end specialty market for clients that are interested in quality and a good value. It intends to further develop the crane rope market and the elevator side of the business, as it becomes increasingly involved with engineering departments at large elevator manufacturers. “Those would be our primary focal points on the existing product line, and next year hear back from the mill and if they’re getting good field studies on those ropes, look at the opportunities that are out there to get involved in the mining market as well.”