June '18

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rv-pro.com June 2018 • RV PRO • 23 "There was frustration and diffi- culty in deploying the old-style steps, which essentially just hung on a bar- and-slot slide mechanism," he says. "We wanted a more innovative way to deploy them more easily, and that's when we developed the Hickory Step." HSM has heavy metal fabrication operations that are vertically integrated with the company's painting and assembly capabilities. "It was a great fit – we had all the practices and components available to us under one roof to enter an industry that we identified as a decent-sized 'need' when the steps first came out. We continuously work on product improvements for our Hickory Step from the original version to what we offer today," Snyder says. Enhancements have included a larger front radius to pro- vide more footing by extending the leading edge of the step plate treads. HSM also innovated and brought to market the slotted tread, which was an opportunity to advance the traction while eliminating costly grip tape that's applied to other market step products. "We use extruded aluminum, as well as an all-aluminum step that's already being used by an OE customer," Snyder says. Steps are exposed to the environment throughout the year, so HSM eliminates potential for rust and degradation as much as it can. "We take care to remove as much exposed metal as possible. Our protective coating has also improved with increased UV protection and stability." HSM's website features a video demonstrating the Hickory Above: Robert Moore shrink wraps steps on a pallet for easier shipment. The steps are made at the company's facility in Arkansas but are shipped to HSM's facilities in Elkhart (pictured) for distribution to local RV makers. Right: Dee Pickens spreads out fabric, preparing it for the automated Gerber cutter, which is capable of making cuts more precisely and faster than can be done by hand.

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