Pile Buck’s interview with Shugart Manufacturing, a leading provider of high-quality products for the marine and construction industry serving customers throughout North America.
PB: Tell us about Shugart Manufacturing.
SM: We design and manufacture products for the marine and construction industries including sectional barges, barge propulsion units, screeds, concrete forms, and much more. We also provide custom solutions for our customers. We’ve been in business since 1962.
PB: Before he passed away in April, owner and president Donnie Wilks recently struck a deal with McLean Contracting Company, yes?
SM: That’s right. McLean – a heavy civil and marine contractor since 1903 – acquired Shugart Manufacturing through an asset purchase in December of 2021. Since Mr. Wilks’ passing, Colby Bowers now directs the division, which is located in South Carolina.
PB: Seems like a good fit.
SM: It really is. First of all, the two companies share a commitment to a superior level of customer service. McLean Contracting’s motto is “Bringing Peace of Mind to Those We Serve.” That’s always been Shugart Manufacturing’s guiding principal as well. Of course the products we manufacture are aligned with McLean’s contracting projects.
PB: Tell us about the barges you design and manufacture.
SM: We have several categories of barges, including our regular barge, double-stack barge, and heavy-duty barge. The main difference between them is size. So our regular barge is 10 feet, 4 inches wide, measured from center to center of the connecting pinholes. The actual work surface is 10 feet and varies in length. Shugart regular barges are 5 feet deep.
PB: Shugart offers several different lengths for all of your barges.
SM: Correct. Shugart barges of any type are available in lengths equal to two, three, or four times barge width.
PB: Can you deviate from those multiples?
SM: We won’t. Length must always be a multiple of the width to allow for proper connection and stability.
PB: The double-stack barge is sized for transport, right?
SM: Shugart’s double-stack barge is 7 feet, 9 inches wide and 4 feet, 3 inches deep. The smaller size allows these barges to be stacked two high on a truck and transported anywhere in the United States without permits.
PB: What about rail, ship, and air transport?
SM: Shugart double-stack barges have been designed for compatibility with intermodal transportation and compatible with size requirements for intermixed shipping between rail, ship, air, and truck.
PB: Which brings us to the heavy-duty barge.
SM: Shugart’s heavy-duty barge is also 10 feet, 4 inches wide, but the depth is 7 feet instead of the standard barge’s 5 feet. This extra depth provides a significantly stronger platform as well as additional freeboard – often needed for heavier lifts or when barges are used in surf or choppy waters.
PB: How does the Shugart pinning system make it easier to assemble and disassemble your barges?
SM: Our unique system is based on the principle of many simple connections spaced close together. The pin-flange locking method securely fastens barge sections together. Pins will not jam due to corrosion. Our unique double head on the connector pin allows for ultra-fast connection and removal.
PB: We understand that Shugart designed the pinning system so that a single pin cannot become a critical stress point.
SM: Exactly. The connector holes are precisely aligned, which assures proper connection once only two pins are in place. All holes should always be pinned before beginning a project to insure proper stress distribution. Another key feature of our pinning system is that the upper heads on the pins are also positioned to support a 2×4 flush with the deck, which hides the connection.
PB: For our construction-industry readers, tell us about Shugart’s unique screed products.
SM: The Shugart screed is self-propelled and requires no special training to use. Our screeds are easy to set up and disassemble, simple to operate, and require fewer work hours than traditional finishers to get the job done. Our screeds are highly reliable and require only minimum maintenance – making them less expensive to own.
PB: Shugart screeds can handle some pretty hefty pours with precision.
SM: The longitudinal action give Shugart screeds the ability to easily handle pours of 60-80 feet and can be used efficiently on pours up to 100 feet in length. Our system offers precise grade and camber adjustments that allow for screeding slabs that widen or narrow. Shugart screeds deliver 1/8 inch tolerance in 16 feet. This far surpasses the standard 1/8 inch in 10 feet requirements. That’s why some state highway departments have actually specified Shugart screeds in securing bids.
PB: Shugart screeds are fast too, yes?
SM: The electric model travels up to 20 inches per minute, while the hydraulic model travels up to 45 inches per minute. Both the hydraulic and the electric models are built with a strong welded-steel truss frame and the highest quality field-proven components. They are based on a simple design that requires fewer moving parts than other finishers. Shugart screeds have provided our customers with years of dependable service.
PB: What other products does Shugart Manufacturing offer?
SM: Well, we’ve talked a lot about our barges and screeds. But Shugart designs and manufactures many products, including barge propulsion units and accessories, barge ramps, bridge steel, concrete forms, and other miscellaneous equipment and materials for marine and construction use.
PB: You offer custom fabrication, yes?
SM: We have complete machine and welding shops, along with well-trained and experienced personnel that can meet a customer’s exacting engineering specs.
PB: What else do you want our readers to know about Shugart Manufacturing?
SM: We provide custom fabrication from the largest machinery to the smallest fittings. We can provide the design and manufacturing capability to create and maintain exactly what you need to get the job done. We are always eager to provide you with the information, technical assistance and estimates you need to get your project started. Contact Shugart Manufacturing for more information.