While our product range is focused on authentic Mexican products with our hammocks coming directly from Mexico and are handmade, the manufacturing base for steel products like hammock frames is not so readily available there. As such, I took a trip to China over the New Zealand winter to visit hammock stand factories to source new hammock stands to suit our range of Mexican hammocks. On this trip, I visited two factories to compare the quality and production process involved in manufacturing metal hammock stands. It proved to be a valuable trip in this regard as there was a marked difference in quality between the two.
A little detour to the Huangshan Mountains
The supplier we settled upon is a specialist steel and aluminium hammock stand manufacturing company. They don’t make hammocks, or camping gear or sports equipment like many Chinese factories trying to produce a bit of everything yet specialising in nothing. They solely focus on producing quality metal hammock frames and have done so since 2005.
Some of the factory floor production and engineers testing area
With a focus on quality engineering and design, the price was higher, but we were satisfied the quality difference justifies this. Importantly this gives us peace of mind knowing we are providing a faultless product and the best quality for our customers. Chinese made products often get a bad rap for cheap quality, but most of this comes down to the wholesale purchaser pushing for cheaper prices which in turns cause the product itself and the materials used to be of a lower standard to meet these price demands. We believe you get what you pay for and are happy to pay more such as in this case when this results in;
- A better quality and thicker grade of steel
- Larger diameter metal tubing
- Better rust prevention and paint finish
- Pipe shrinking and expanding, plus collaring techniques to ensure smooth easy assembly
- Accurate customised dimensions and design
- Quality checking including pre-assembly
- Customised heavy duty corrugated cardboard packaging
The end result is a stronger, more durable, easier to assemble and longer lasting quality hammock frame.
The production process for producing hammock stands is a multi-stage process and involves a large degree of human-operated machinery. I visited on a weekend (hence the empty and unused machinery in the images) and was given a good tour and explanation of the full process.
This manufacturing process for our metal hammock stands are as follows;
- Quality purpose specific cold rolled tube steel is purchased in long lengths then cut down to size. Cold rolled steel tubing vs hot-rolled tub benefits from higher carrying capacities, is more stable and durable and also has a smoother finish that allows for a better quality paint finish.
- These cut ends can be rough and sharp so they go through a chamfering process to polish down and smooth out any of these sharp edges, making it safer for customer assembly and handling.
- Ever had trouble putting together tubular steel furniture and it won’t slide in smoothly or easily? The next process here is not always done by manufacturers but is important for easy assembly. One end of the pipe is shrunk and one end expanded so the different sections fit in nicely to one another. No need to force them together or risk of scratching your paint finish as the steel grinds past each other, each piece will slide easily into place.
- Similarly, where there are weld seams, these go through a ‘collar removal’ process which removes the welding lines making for smooth easy assembly and better finish.
- The cut sections of steel are then accurately measured and hole punched or drilled so each piece accurately bolts together.
- Curved sections of the stands are then bent into shape through a steel bending machine.
- Where welding is required this is 360-degree welding to ensure greatest strength, stability and results in a more tidy finish.
- Due to the extreme heat of welding, this can lead to ‘deformed’ looking seams. So these seams go through a reformation process to tidy them back up.
- From here each piece of steel goes through an acid cleaning process to remove any surface rust, then through a parkerizing process. This is also sometimes a step missed out by other companies. Parkerizing is a process of protecting the metal surfaces from corrosion while also increasing its resistance to wear. This comes about by the application of pure polyester powder coating especially produced for outdoor use providing excellent anti-corrosion protection for our stands. Lower grade coatings include epoxy and polyester/epoxy hybrid which doesn’t offer the same high levels of protection.
- The steel pieces then go through an onsite painting conveyor system ensuring a high-quality powder coated gloss paint finish.
- After this stage, the products are ready for an assembly check. Every stand is assembled onsite by experienced workers and checked for quality and functionality prior to final packaging and dispatch. This is a unique step not often done, as you may have found when you’ve gone to DIY assemble a flatpack product and find drill holes and sections that don’t line up or missing pieces. This ensures your product will assemble trouble free and contain all the necessary hardware.
- Final product packaging into strong cardboard boxes with bubble wrapped sections to protect and ensure each stand is received in excellent condition.
- They are then container loaded and the container is taken to port, loaded onto a container ship and sent on its way to Tauranga Port.
- Prior to final delivery to us, NZ biosecurity rules require the whole container to be emptied to check for any potential issues. It is then reloaded and delivered to us.
- Finally, the hammock stands are ready for final courier delivery upon customer order.
- This whole process usually takes around 4-6 weeks to complete a bulk order and another 3-4 weeks travel time to us in New Zealand.
Rust protect process for metal pieces
The hammock frame products we have ordered are very similar to what we currently stock in our metal arc hammock stand (MAHS) and our metal hammock stand (MHS). There are just some differences in the sizing, our MHS is taller now so that it fits our long length hammocks better. Both also come in slightly thick grade steel and the quality manufacture process as described. A new item added this time is a new chair hammock frame. The design is often referred to as a C chair stand, due to the ‘C’ shape. At close to 30kg this is a very strong, solid and sturdy stand and looks really great in glossy black paint finish. Unlike our previous model, this one also fits a range of various chair hammocks such as egg-shaped chairs and rattan furniture swings.
We hope this production guide gives you a little more insight into what goes into the production of our hammock stands and displays our desire to stock only quality long lasting goods for your long-term enjoyment. This new and updated range of stands are now in stock and available to purchase through our web store with free delivery throughout New Zealand; Mexican Hammock Store.