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Hannibal Industries celebrates 30 years
Eileen Schmidt
Eileen Schmidt

It was a humble start in the metal fabrication business for Hannibal Industries Inc. in 1985 - just eight employees in the Los Angeles office. But now, three decades later, the company has reached into global markets, added new facilities, established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and describes itself as one of the largest U.S. steel pallet rack manufacturers west of the Mississippi River.

The business ships over 90,000 tons of steel annually, according to company leaders. "Hannibal has had great success over the years and we owe that success to our team," said Blanton Bartlett, company president, in a company statement released late in 2015 to mark the firm's 30th anniversary. He pledged continued growth in the years to come.

Hannibal provides carbon steel tubing to metal distributors and storage solutions in the following industries: food and beverage, home improvement, warehouse distribution, manufacturing, cold storage distribution, retail, archive storage, automotive and Third Party Logistics Providers. The company was formed after the purchase of Kaiser Steel Tubing assets in 1985. Mitsui & Company acquired part of the business two years later, and secured remaining company assets in 1999, according to Hannibal's company history.

Hannibal's storage systems division came into being in 1997, with the acquisition of Rack and Roll, Inc. and the company became employee-owned in 2008.

The growth promised by Bartlett was evident last summer, as Hannibal broke ground on a 42,000-square-foot addition to its Houston manufacturing center. The new construction, added to the existing 110,000-square-foot facility, will include a powder coating production line, environmental room and office space. Steve Rogers, Hannibal's vice president of sales, said the addition was needed to help serve the company's eastern U.S. customers.

"The company has been shipping more and more racking from Los Angeles to (the Southeast)," said Rogers, at the ground-breaking. "It was time to expand in an effort to provide our customers with a national presence."

Hannibal's anniversary year was also notable for the awarding of a patent for its TubeRack, which was designed to cut down on damage to stored goods in distribution centers due to seismic activity, and to improve worker safety. The product underwent an impact test with a wrecking ball simulating an 18,000-pound forklift traveling at 2 miles per hour, and performed as expected, bouncing back with minimal damage. The test can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-RrKcE_E2A.

TubeRack's inventor, Andrew Kirby, said he was proud of the result following the receipt of the patent in July of last year. “My first priority as an engineer is saving people's lives, and TubeRack's dual-moment frame creates a stronger, safer and more flexible system that will save the lives of people in distribution centers during seismic activity,” Kirby said, in Hannibal's statement.

Hannibal also continues to promote green and lean manufacturing practices, including the purchase of six cleaner burner diesel tractors in 2013. The company also implements a trash collection service that automatically separates recyclable items, uses energy-efficient lighting fixtures, and supports alternative means of commuting for employees. All of the measures are meant to fulfill Hannibal's environmental philosophy, posted on the company site: “We believe it is our responsibility as a company to initiate and put forth our best efforts to reduce waste and encourage environmental friendly practices for not only our employees but for the world.”

Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email editorial@mhwmag.com or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen. 
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