What is ‘Benchmarking’ anyway?  It’s the comparison of your own business, product or processes, against other products or industry best practices.  We all do it whether or not we are aware.  We compare brands, we naturally learn new techniques by watching others, and sometimes we even peek over the fence to see if our neighbor’s grass really is greener. 

Sometimes we receive a request to compare.  We were asked about our 00503-204 HDD swivel.  Why are there less expensive options available?  Why can’t we make ours cheaper?  We know cheaper is not always better, but only if that extra cost provides more value.  So, we started checking.

While our 00503-204 has a reported working load is 9,000 lbs that matches competition, we noticed some big differences when we started to look at the nuts and bolts (pun intended).  Screws without Loctite and caps threads without sealant were a couple things we noticed on competitor swivels.  But the most obvious difference was this:

How is this possible?  How can two swivels, both rated to the same safe working load, use two drastically different bearing arrangements?

Theirs uses a needle roller thrust arrangement, which gives a static load rating of 9,105 lbs, but only a dynamic load rating of 2,473 lbs.  This second number is important.  Depending on the conditions, it provides a basic life rating anywhere between 2.1 to as low as 0.23 hours when operated under continuous rotation at maximum load.  Our 00503-204 achieves a life rating of 82 hours under the same conditions.  This is the greatest factor in cost and capability between the two swivels.  The bearing arrangement used in the competitor swivel is suitable for a line swivel used in an anti-torsional application but is not recommended for a continuous rotation application like an HDD operation.

Other 00503-204 advantages:

  • Angular contact bearings provide superior bearing life under dynamic load
  • Double shouldered clevis pins
  • Clevis pins are hardened steel as opposed to zinc plated
  • Larger dimension at clevis ends for more/easier connection options
  • Sealed cap/body threads for better bearing protection
  • Pushback support
  • Side load support uses bearings, not bushings, for better longevity.

We hope this is an eye opener, it was certainly a learning experience for us.  If you have any other questions about our HDD swivels, please let us know!