CTech Manufacturing PRI Preview 2018

It’s already been 25 years since Jim Greenheck started CTech Manufacturing, and although we’ve grown to serve many different industries over the years, we never forgot our racing heritage. With the 31st annual Performance Racing Industry trade show only one month away, we’re looking forward to kicking off our 25th year in a big way!

The PRI show features 1,100 industry-leading companies who offer the latest and greatest racing & engineering products. CTech has been attending PRI for many years, and every year we do something to improve our presence at the show and better engage with attendants. Among our new attractions and activities, the debut of our brand new dual-deck Ultra Cart will serve as a shining centerpiece for our busy booth. Pushing the limits of innovation and manufacturing, this groundbreaking cart will sit high and mighty, fully expanded for all to see.

CTech booth visitors will also have the opportunity to enter our product giveaway drawings. We’re planning on giving away one Service Cart per day, along with three BlackLine Accessories. Visitors will also be able to engage with our new 3-D interactive product catalog, and a wide variety of our standard products from our cart, cabinet, and tool drawer product lines.

We will be located deep in the Green Hall, booth #2625 near Motor State Distributing and Cometic Gaskets. We hope you’ll join us for this exciting gathering of technology and racing expertise!

 CTech will be located at the blue dot!

CTech will be located at the blue dot!

Blackdog Speed Shop Finds a New Home

SCCA World Challenge Champions and CTECH proponents, Blackdog Speed Shop, recently outgrew their 20,000 square foot race shop and moved to a brand new facility just on the other end of the block. The move comes after a tumultuous 2018 racing season, in which the Blackdog team secured the GTS Sprint Team Title in the highly competitive Pirelli World Challenge Championship series.

The new facility residing in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is roughly triple the size of their old shop. With their full-service Hot Rod shop in high demand, in addition to recent growth in the racing program, moving was unavoidable. The new space is configured to comfortably host Blackdog’s three major divisions; the racing team, customer-dedicated Hot Rod shop, and performance vehicle dealership, all under one roof. The Hot Rod shop features a full-size dynamometer, alignment bench, ample machine shop, and plenty of well-equipped workspace to provide speed shop services to a growing customer base. Blackdog currently offers speed shop services ranging from basic maintenance, to custom fabrication and ‘turn-key’ vehicle building.  

The race shop’s dedicated area features more than enough workspace to support the team’s current two-car effort as well as ‘arrive and drive’ programs. Trailers and transporters are also accommodated in the new space, along with an engine room to keep their 6.2-liter Chevrolet small block V8s in prime condition for the racing season.

Of course, investing in new storage furnishings and equipment is also inevitable with the size of Blackdog’s expansion. Incredibly, all of the CTECH cabinets that the team had installed in their previous facility have moved along with them into the new building! However, new cabinets and countertop units needed to be commissioned to fully equip the expanded Hot Rod shop, and the services that go along with it. Each stall in the shop is surrounded by three individual Ultra Series cabinet/countertop units. Each provides ample, and adjustable storage for parts and equipment. The GasketLoc countertops on each unit are built to whithstand the rigors of automotive work, as well as keep spills contained to the surface of the counter.

We were lucky enough to have been invited to the open house and ribbon cutting for the new Blackdog Speed Shop headquarters. There were plenty of cool collector cars, as well as racecars, on display, which really looked impressive alongside all the shiny new cabinets! Safe to say, Blackdog now has one of the best looking and well equipped shops around!

CTech Joins the "Made in Wisconsin" Program

We have a lot to be proud of in Wisconsin, especially at CTech. Not only are our products manufactured at our headquarters in Weston, WI, but they're also designed, engineered and assembled under the same roof. Recently, that roof got about 80,000 square feet larger thanks to a growing demand for our high-quality aluminum storage products. We were born in Wisconsin, and there's no other place we'd rather be!

With the 25th anniversary of our company coming very near on the horizon, we're excited to announce that CTech has joined the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's "Made In Wisconsin" program. This means we've been authorized to display the program's official logo on our marketing and production materials. We consider it a badge of honor and an ode to our heritage, as it says much more than just where our products are made!

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CTech Manufacturing Represented at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

The world's most talked-about celebration of Motorsports and car culture wrapped up its 25th anniversary this weekend in West Sussex, England. Those in attendance (both in-person and online) were treated to a variety of racecars, hypercars, classic cars, historic planes, motorcycles, driverless cars, electric cars, and many others of the like in a gathering that could not, and isn't put on anywhere else in the world.

The Goodwood festival is regarded by many as a "bucket list" item, and a few CTech products were lucky enough to make it to the historic festival grounds thanks to a couple well-known figures in the sport. Steve 'Baggsy' Biagioni put on one of the more exciting shows during the entire festival, running his Nissan GTR drifting machine up the hill. Baggsy is a popular (and extremely talented) drifting competitor from England, and he recently received a new Service Cart from CTech. If he sounds familiar to you, that's because he was featured on the hit Amazon show "Top Gear" in an episode where he was tasked with teaching Richard Hammond how to drift!

A CTech Mini Cart could also be found under the Winston Cup Museum tent, who were running an array of historic NASCAR/Winston Cup stock cars in the hillclimb. One of them being the Interstate Battery Chevy Monte Carlo piloted by Bobby Labonte in the 1993 Winston Cup series. The racecars themselves were supplied by JKS Incorporated, a respected marketing firm based in the U.S.

Jim Greenheck Wins in Indy!

CTech Manufacturing Founder and President Jim Greenheck just brought home a shiny new Wally from the NHRA Summer Spectacle at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis! Jim took the win in the Competition Eliminator class behind the wheel of his 2012 'racecabinet.com' Camaro over Chad Voges of St. Peters, MO. We're proud to be a company that doesn't just supply racers with top-of-the-line equipment, but also lives and breathes the sport!

The Summer Spectacle was hosted by NHRA's North Central Division and featured 13 different classes of drag racers going head to head. Jim's latest win boosts him to tenth in the National NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing point standings, continuing a stellar year for himself and Crew Chief Brandon Frank. Congrats to everyone at the track!

Photos courtesty of Kevin Pepera 📸

Catching Up With Ed Carpenter Racing

When IndyCar teams go on the road, they bring a TON of stuff with them... Multiple sets of springs, spare parts for every end of the racecar (including the engine), and multiple sets of equipment/tools. Considering that most teams are sporting a two-car effort, that means double the spare parts, and double the storage space needed! The transporter presents some unique logistical challenges, meaning the team must:

  • Store those items securely during transit
  • Keep those items accessible at a moment's notice
  • Keep the gross weight of the trailer to a minimum
  • Reserve space for workspaces to be set up during the race weekend
  • Fit tool carts and pit boxes into the lane of the transporter

We recently caught up with Bret Schmitt, Chief Mechanic at Ed Carpenter Racing, to talk about what he likes about the custom CTECH cabinets that they have in their transporter!

“The biggest thing for us overall was saving weight in the trailer and being able to customize the cabinets to the exact size we want, which increased our storage area almost 20% over a stock Lista cabinet."

In the racing world, having a 1% advantage is significant. Having a 20% advantage is a no-brainer! Not only has CTECH cabinets offered more storage than Lista, they've also cut wight down and made stored items more accessible with MotionLatch Drawers and Doors.

"It’s a great product, and a great finish. We really like the handles! Everything is just very user friendly for what we’re doing.”

 

Mobile Vs. Stationary Cabinets: What's The Difference?

Mobile storage problems require innovative thinking to solve. CTECH excels in designing, engineering, and producing highly functional, and brilliantly aesthetic storage solutions for mobile applications. Because after all, not all trailer cabinets are created equal!

Cabinets that are built specifically for off-road bashing or long stints on the highway require a little something extra. Trailers in particular must meet maximum weight requirements, not just to save fuel, but because it's the law! Drawers, cabinets, and the entire storage systems must also endure bumps and jolts in the road, and structural failures in those cases can be disastrous. 

We've designed all of our products with those challenges in mind, and results in a unique set of product features, some of which are exclusive to CTECH products:

  1. MotionLatch drawer/door handle technology ensures that drawers stay closed in rough travel, yet open with fingertip ease. The design incorporates a 'full-face' handle that spans the entire face of the drawer/door.

  2. Fastener assembly making up the cabinet structure allows the system to flex during rough travel. Welded, or non-metal cabinets tend to break at the seams or pull screws through in those conditions.

  3. All-Aluminum construction: CTECH cabinets are made of lightweight and extremely tough 5052 aluminum construction, which makes them perfect for mobile storage systems small and large.

  4. Ultra-strong, smooth-sliding drawers are extremely important when road conditions take a turn for the worse. There's nothing much more demanding than a drawer packed with heavy tools being thrown around during transit.

  5. Show-quality powder coat finishes are also found on all CTECH products, providing a tough, aesthetic finish to any storage system. 

STEM Programs Take On Road America!

This week, Road America and the CTECH Motorplex hosted some of America’s future engineering and manufacturing stars. STEM programs 'Challenge USA' and 'Formula Student USA' held their crown jewel events at the Elkhart Lake facility on Monday and Tuesday, each offering a unique and equally ambitious challenge.

On the 4-mile track, Challenge USA carried out their “Supermileage” and “Electrathon” events. The goal; lap the entire track while using the least amount of gas or electricity as possible. Each high school team is responsible for designing, developing, and building their own chassis and powertrains according to the rules. MPG estimates are in the hundreds, and for the Supermileage event, teams are only allowed to use a fuel tank smaller than the size of a soda can!

Meanwhile, at the CTECH Motorplex participants in the Formula Student event focus less on MPGs and more on building the fastest, most reliable racecar. Chassis rules are a bit more stringent in this category, and all components are either adapted from existing parts or custom-made by the students themselves. Students from the Ashwaubenon High School even let us take one of their new chassis for a test drive; a reverse-engineered Caterham/Lotus style vehicle strapped with a Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine!

Hearing the passion in these student’s voices and seeing their skills in action was an inspiration. CTECH is proud to support the STEM Academy and many other similar programs taking place in Wisconsin and around the Midwest. With a bit of help, these young professionals are going to build a better future!