"If no one would create the hot-air welder contractors were demanding, we would."
I’ve been in the roofing industry throughout my entire career. I started as a contractor, and eventually launched my own roofing equipment distribution company, Hy-Tech Products.
From 1984 through 2014 (the year I sold the company to my son), I had the chance to work with many roofers across the Midwest. During that time, we sold and serviced hundreds of automatic seam welders. We also received no shortage of… lets say…“colorful feedback” on their drawbacks.
Most frequently, the concerns centered on two areas:
- The safety and well being of employees. The question we heard all the time was, “Why do my guys have to walk backward on a roof?”
- The inefficiency associated with lugging a welder and all associated power equipment across the roof to start welding the next seam.
We were also bothered by the fact that welder technology hadn’t been upgraded in decades. The most significant advancements in the past 15 years were a digital interface and preset welding profiles.
Meanwhile, most other industries improved worker safety, performance and efficiency thanks to significant technological advancements.
“The roofing industry had been forgotten by those who profit from it.”
The conclusion we drew was the top hot-air tool manufacturers saw little reward in product research and development. Roofing contractors had been forgotten by those who profit from them.
We were beyond fed up with the sorry state of roofing welders, so we decided to take action.
If no one would create the hot-air tool contractors were demanding, we would. And in doing so, we'd take the industry in an entirely new direction.
A Like-Minded Partner
“We were creating a completely revolutionary tool from the ground up.”
Our first step was to find a manufacturing partner, but it couldn’t be just anyone. We wanted an organization with a track record of producing high quality, reliable equipment.
Through a fortunate series of events, we were introduced to Miller Weldmaster. They fit the bill perfectly for the mission we were undertaking. For more than 40 years, they’ve produced top-of-the-line welding equipment across a wide range of applications and industries—however, at the time, they had no in-the-field roofing welders.
We met with Miller Weldmaster's team, and introduced our vision for a new automatic seam welder. After hearing our impassioned pitch and exploring the market potential, they were onboard. Soon thereafter, we began the design phase.
We met regularly to discuss features, electronics, look, size, weight and everything between. During this time, Miller Weldmaster certainly lived up to their impeccable reputation. Their product development insights were invaluable, and they had no established manufacturing processes to lock us into how the tool could be built.
We were creating a completely revolutionary tool from the ground up.
The First of Its Kind
Question: What do you get when you fuse roofing experience, customer feedback, and engineering capabilities?
Answer: A revolutionary machine that redefines the standard for hot-air seam welders.
We named our welder the Seamrover DD, with the “DD” signifying Dual Direction. This heavy-duty machine gives roofers:
- A dual-direction drive so they can always walk forward, no matter which way the welder is going.
- GPS for tracking the welder’s movement and speed throughout a project.
- An easily exportable record of weld settings, location and environmental factors that logs every foot traveled for later review and inspection.
- Built-in weights over two soft-core press wheels for even, consistent seam pressure.
- Two oversized press wheels to compensate for slight deviations off the seam.
- And much more
At the 2016 IRE Show, alongside Miller Weldmaster, we introduced the Seamrover DD to the roofing industry. The reception was overwhelming.
During one demo, we showed a crowd how easily the welder can change direction. In two words, Chip Goss, president of J. Wilhelm Roofing Co., summed up the reaction of everyone who'd visited our booth, “HOLY SH*T!”
A 25-year roofing veteran, Chip told us what most excited him was the huge labor savings that comes with eliminating the need walk across a roof just to start a new seam.
Just Getting Warmed Up
We are working with Miller Weldmaster to introduce a brand new family of roofing hot-air tools and equipment—based on the needs of you, the roofer.
Stay tunes for new product announcements.