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eZ-Hoist World Headquarters Tour

ez-hoist office

American Craftsmen is a stamp of quality. 

Bird’s-eye view of Louisville, KY.

It is the first blog post for us here at eZ-Hoist.  We spent many sleepless nights wondering what we were going to write about.  We thought about a whole slew of topics ranging from “What brand of safety relay is the best for scenic automation?” to “What goes through the Jimmy John’s delivery driver’s head when he delivers to the office every fifteen minutes from 11:30am to 1:30pm?”  Honestly, the latter of the two subjects was winning since it has baffled everyone at eZ-Hoist for so long.  But then we took a step back and thought about the company and what makes it so different.  We immediately thought about the eZ-Hoist and ZFX World Headquarters.  We are so unbelievably proud of the eZ-Hoist headquarters and show it off every chance we get.

eZ-Hoist and ZFX is based in the heart of Louisville, and is only 12 minutes to the Louisville International Airport and UPS’s Worldport.  Louisville is a mecca of logistics and is within a day’s drive of 60% of the United States population.  The shop and offices are just about 37,000 square feet and sit on 3.25 acres.  ZFX and eZ-Hoist have called this location home for over 10 years, and it has grown just like the company has.  The main building of our headquarters was built in 1947  (they don’t make ’em like they used to!  ) to service railroad locomotives which explains why it is so long (300′).  When ZFX first moved in to the location the main building was a single, very tall story (15,000 square feet) but it is now two stories (22,000 square feet).  The fabrication and machine shop has been relocated three separate times before getting a building of their very own.

eZ-Hoist and ZFX’s world headquarters are broken into six different areas:

  • Administration Offices
  • Shipping/ Rental Storage
  • Dojo/ Rental Storage
  • Mojo
  • Quonset Hut
  • Fabrication/ Assembly Shop
  • Test Towers

Administration Offices- 2,000 Sq. Ft. (185,8 m²)

The administration offices are where all the producers’ offices, accounting, management, candy bowls, and show posters from projects we have worked on around the world are located.  Just like every other company, the administration offices might not be the most spectacular, but they are invaluable.  Without the administration offices no bills would be paid or received, no travel arrangements would be made, and nobody would sign for the Jimmy John’s deliveries.

Stage Automation Technician in training

Some of us just aren’t cut out for paperwork.

Shipping/ Rental Storage- 7,000 Sq. Ft. (650,3 m²)

This area is where our logistics team operates, and it’s an extraordinarily fast paced environment with at least one of the three forklifts in constant motion.  The logistics team is invaluable to the company and have a serious hustle work ethic similar to EMTs.  They know who to call when UPS doesn’t deliver your package on Saturday or if you need to get something to Abu Dhabi tomorrow.  Without them we would not be able into get our gear in our customers’ hands.

The Dojo- 8,000 Sq. Ft. (743,2 m²)

The Dojo is the foundation of the eZ-Hoist and ZFX Headquarters.  The term Dojo is Japanese and means “the place of the way”.  The Dojo is where all of the training happens for performers and the ZFX flying directors.  The multipurpose room is just under 8,000 square feet and the low steel is 32’-0” (10 meters) from the floor.  We built the grid adding 65,000 pounds of steel one I-Beam at a time.  To hold true to the name Dojo, we also use the area to set up test rigs to allow performers to rehearse their future flying effects or our mechanical design team to test the newest zero fleet deck winch design.  It is the heart of ZFX and often the place we are most excited to share.

Automation rental being prepped.

3D performer flying rehearsal in progress. 

The Mojo- 7,000 Sq. Ft. (650,3 m²)

The Mojo is the second floor that was above the Shipping/ Rentals area. Get why it’s called the Mojo?  The Mojo is divided into thirds.  The first third is where all of the flying harnesses are built.  The second third is the flying director’s and scenic automation technicians’ area.  The flying directors and scenic automation technicians are rarely in town so they all share a table for when they happen to fly through.  The final third of the Mojo is the electrical area.  The electrical area is where all the electrical enclosures and cables are manufactured for ZFX and eZ-Hoist.  Somewhere in the Mojo is where the swag  is locked up and guarded by an ancient curse, just in case anyone tries to steal our sweet, sweet swag.  In truth, we’re pretty quick to hand it out.

Construction of the Mojo.

Performer flying harness manufacturing.

Quonset Hut- 2,000 Sq. Ft. (185,8 m²)

The Quonset Hut is used for both black oxide of the wire rope and powder coating of fabricated components.  To maintain the maximum level of quality control on black wire rope we developed our own blackening system and are now the largest producer of black oxidized wire rope in the world.  The powder coating allows us to delivery professionally finished gear even for component designed, built, tested, and shipped in the same day.

Fabrication/ Assembly Shop- 12,000 Sq. Ft. (1114,8 m²)

Have you seen one of our American Craftsmen’s creations – our amazing machines – person?  If so, you understand that we take the craftsmanship very seriously and don’t cut any corners.  Instead they are all perfectly rounded and smooth!  We have multiple lathes, milling machines, CNC milling machines, and two (yes, two!) Waterjets.  Our fabrication shop is so freakin’ awesome that they can take raw materials and have a finished winch drum completed within 4 hours.  Can yours do that??

Black by popular demand. 

One of our star American Craftsmen.

Beginning stages of custom hoist fabrication. 

Another one of our star American Craftsmen.

Outdoor Test Towers

We have two outdoor test towers that are over 35’ tall and spaced 500’ apart.  These are used for either testing high-lines/cable-tracks/catenary-tracks, testing gear in all-weather outdoor conditions or as warring forts (no boys allowed!).

Hopefully it’s warmer on top of the test tower.

Some late night automation testing.