What Happened to Budgit Chain Hoists?

Posted by Jon Fuchs on

A quick review of Budgit hoists, what happened to them, and what options you have for replacing them. 

The History of Budgit

The Budgit ManGuard electric chain hoist was one of the most popular off-the-shelf low headroom hoists ever manufactured. The Budgit hoist was first introduced in 1935 by the Shaw-Box Crane & Hoist Company out of Muskegon, Michigan. The Budgit hoist line went through a number of ownership changes up until 1996 when the Columbus McKinnon corporation acquired both Budgit and Yale hoists. 

What Separated Budgit from other Hoist Offerings

Thomas Weston - Inventor of the Differential Pulley and Weston Style Mechanical Load Brake

The Budgit ManGuard was special in design for two reasons. First, and most notable was the incredible headroom offered by the Budgit line. Compared to it's counterparts, the CM Lodestar and Coffing JLC, the Budgit hoist could offer the same lifting capacity, but with significantly less headroom. Headroom is the dimension between the eye of the hook suspending the hoist, and the eye of the hook lifting materials, when the chain is fully retracted. 

The second truly innovative design concept on the Budgit ManGuard hoist, was the ability to add a Weston style mechanical load brake. The Weston mechanical load brake, named after it's inventor Thomas Weston, was a mechanical ratchet-and-pawl style brake. Mechanical load brakes are added in addition to a standard electric brake. Mechanical load brakes are very important in applications where the hoist operator has to have their hands on the load. The mechanical load brake offers an added safety measure should the electric brake fail, or in the event of a power loss. 

The low headroom of the Budgit Manguard hoist, coupled with the ability to add a Weston style mechanical load brake, and a fantastic price point, set the Budgit hoist line apart from the competition.  

What Happened to the Budgit Hoist Line?

Budgit Hoist Internal Cutaway View

The Budgit ManGuard became more popular than ever beginning in 2020. As other traditional hoist lines like CM and Coffing were experiencing supply chain disruption's with items like sinpac switches, Budgit hoists were readily available and orders were coming in at a record pace. In 2022, after 2 years of record sales, we started seeing lead times back out significantly. It wasn't long before word came down the pipeline that Columbus McKinnon was having trouble sourcing the WEG motors. For reasons still not completely known to distributors, we've been informed that the motor manufacturer was no longer able to supply the once famous motors. With the inability to source the distinct motor that allowed for the low headroom build design, Columbus McKinnon decided to put Budgit Hoist manufacturing on an indefinite hold. This hold has seemingly transitioned to a complete cease of production. If and when production will ever come back, is yet to be known, but the effects have been felt industry wide, especially by end-users with established work cells that demanded the low-headroom capabilities of the Budgit Manguard Hoist. 

What Budgit Replacement Options Exist?

The short of the long is that nothing quite replaces the low-headroom, Weston style mechanical-load-brake option, that the Budgit ManGuard Hoist filled. If trying to meet the headroom requirement alone, the closest option is likely going to be a small-frame lighter capacity hoist, such as the CM Lodestar VS series. A manual replacement option would be something like the Chester Zephyr Army style Hand Chain Hoist. If your real concern is having a unit with a mechanical load brake, than you'll want to consider the Coffing EC, or an Accolift chain hoist. The EC and Accolift will require more headroom than the Budgit, so you'll have to double check your lifting application and confirm the lower hanging hoist will not imped the lift. We have dimensional drawings for both available upon request.   

If you would like to discuss your application and what options we have available to replace your current Budgit hoist, give us a call at 1-800-724-4052 x101, or send us an email here.  

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