Jessica May and Joel Crawford of Torklift International tell us about their GlowSteps and how they take scissor step technology to the next level.
Right now, Angela, Harley, and I are living full-time in a truck camper. Everyday we are using hundreds, if not thousands, of individual products, systems, and technologies that come together to make a modern truck camper. Most of them are completely invisible, until they’re not.
Perhaps it’s a propane tank that runs out, or a refrigerator door that opens when you’re driving, or a fuse that blows. In the three times we’ve crossed the United States and Canada in a truck camper, we’ve experienced just about everything. Of course I shouldn’t say that because something else will happen, like the Dodge check valve that died on our way to Florida last January. There’s always something.
For this story we take a close look at a specific product and system that most of us take for granted on a truck camper, the rear entry steps. Torklift has taken the time and care to revisit traditional scissor steps and make a better mousetrap. And they’ve managed to keep the cost and weight down in the process.
What does this mean? It means that there’s now another system that can go back to being invisible, doing it’s job well and reliably, and with increased safety. To find more about Torklift’s GlowSteps, we talked with Jessica May and Joel Crawford of Torklift International.
Left to right: An installed GlowStep system, an installed GlowStep system glowing at night, and Joel Crawford showing off a GlowStep system and display.
TCM: Before we talk about the GlowSteps, tell us how you came to work for Torklift.
Jessie: It wasn’t that long ago actually. I have a background in marketing in the chocolate industry. When the economy tanked in 2008, Jay Taylor, our General Manager, hired me. I have horses that I tow so I certainly knew about Torklift. It’s great to work for a company with amazing growth opportunities, good management, and awesome coworkers. This is really my dream job.
Joel: I originally came to Torklift to train for another job. I then moved into managing our packaging and shipping for two years. Now, I’ve moved into our sales manager position where I hope to find a good permanent home for a long time to come. This is my tenth year here at Torklift. They’ve taken good care of me and my fellow employees.
TCM: Do you go truck camping?
Jessie: I have, but I’m more likely to be in a hammock with my horse trailer. Adding a truck camper is in my long term plan for my rig though. I have access to the company camper and look forward to using it.
Joel: I took our company truck camper to the Oregon dunes last year. I have a fifteen foot trailer that I haul quads to the dunes near Tillamook, Oregon. As employees, we’re allowed to take the company truck camper out anytime. It’s an old Fleetwood.
TCM: Having a company camper is a great idea. During your training at Torklift, did you get to install a tie-down system?
Jessie: I get to do a lot of cross training, time permitting. I’ve certainly been under a truck and installed Torklift tie downs. Last week I assembled the turnbuckles we manufacture. There is a fluid environment here and we all need to know the technical aspects of what we do.
Joel: I have 100% done everything. Sometimes there’s a curveball here and there, but I get past it.
The above photos show the stainless steel hardware used to bolt the GlowSteps and an individual GlowStep ready to add to an existing GlowStep system.
TCM: Let’s talk about the GlowStep system. What are some of the problems with scissor steps that Torklift wanted to solve?
Joel: If you look at other scissor steps on the market, most are single hinged on the sides. Ours are double hinged for significantly increased strength and stability. Another improvement we have made is using bolts instead of rivets. The rivets used on other brands of scissor steps often become loose and unstable. The GlowSteps are through bolted with stainless steel hardware. Not only does this increase the strength and stability, but it also allows the owner to take away or add a step to their GlowStep system.
Jessie: The GlowStep system is the only step system on the market that allows you to add or subtract steps. To make the GlowStep system light, we use T6061 aluminum. T6061 is the same grade of aluminum that they use for manufacturing aircraft. It’s the lightest and strongest aluminum available.
Joel: Another way we have been able to make the GlowSteps lighter than the competition is by using computer aided engineering software. Using the software and our years of manufacturing experience, we were able to remove material from the steps while increasing the strength of the system.
Another important improvement we made is our SureGrip extrusion. The SureGrip surface is literally manufactured into the steps. Most steps use grip tape or diamond plate on the steps. You really can’t compare our GlowStep system to any other step out there.