Who cares about hip chains? Martin wants to know

Martin Cooper
August 30, 2017
By Martin Cooper
Aug. 30, 2017 - A bright coloured measuring box dispensing sewing thread used to be part of the suite of tools that every road builder and timber cruiser relied on to mark out trails and measure off plots. I know this from experience in the B.C. bush laying out mineral claims.

Now after 30 years of building these tools, my company Fremaco Devices is the last supplier and I'm about to make a big mistake.

GPS systems, remote sensing, drone technology and other new techniques have revolutionized the way work is done in the forest and these days the Hipchain is often left in the truck.

Still, there are times when the signal is hard to get and a quick way to make a visible trail, mark off an area or check planting spacing cause the worker to reach out for a hip chain to get'er done.

fremaco-hip-chain.jpegI hope that by making a better hip chain, a beautiful hip chain, workers will reach for it more often.

The GPS guys just laugh and joke about using bread crumbs. However, technology has a nasty way of letting you down just when you have come to rely on it. Rain and cold arrive and there you are with night falling, a dead gizmo in your hand and no idea where you are. That little thread showing where to go can be a real help.

High tech in the hip chain business translates to using 3D drafting and 3D printing to sculpt the perfect shape for a hip chain of the future. Slim to wear, a high capacity thread cone, accurate and trouble free, I have spent thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars to get past the made-in-somebody’s-garage type hip chain.

This work could be all pointless and the big financial investment in manufacturing tooling is still yet to come. Will that small mistake become a giant mistake? Will a market be there when the product is ready? Who is going to care? What is the future for the hip chain?

If you use a hip chain in your work and want a better one, I need to know. Guide me to get it right. Write to me with your views. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


0 #1 E Downey 2017-09-06 15:01
Hello Martin
I teach forest technicians and we still use a hip chain. Forest industry and government harvest compliance use them to check area of concern buffer widths. I see the biggest problem is the roll of thread comes off the roller and then gets jammed requiring one to stop and fix before moving on. For some work there is value in having that thread of evidence left in place when you go (shows where exactly the AOC was checked).

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