architecture - engineering - construction

About Counterweights



Counterweight Solutions


Bridge Weights

Mars Metal Company is capable of pattern-making and mold-making to provide you with complex, lead bridge weight castings, straight lead fills into your fabricated or cast housing(s) or providing a complete, turn-key, fully-encapsulated bridge weights ready to install. We can design and fabricate steel canisters, fill with lead to your desired weight specification, weld any pour holes closed, surface-grind any projecting weld beads, primer paint and final coat.

Due to the extreme density of lead we are able to maximize the bridge weight in the smallest space possible. Lead is approximately 45% more dense than steel so by utilizing lead you are able to make the maximum use of the space available to you.

Mars Metal Company has provided valuable input to architects and engineers in solving the complicated problems associated with the counterweights necessary to counterbalance lift and swing bridges. Each application is different and requires a custom solution. Sometimes these solutions require large production runs of individual weights that can be man-handled into place and sometimes they require very large, one-off castings moved into place with heavy lift material handling equipment.

Our talented and capable sales and engineering staff will work with you to design a solution, manufacture the required weight(s) and deliver them to the site when you need them.


Elevator Weights

New elevator construction is not usually done with lead counterweights but when the end user wants or needs to increase an existing elevator’s capacity, it requires a new counterweight. Rarely is there room on the counterweight to increase the stack height due to head room restrictions. This is where lead is an invaluable product to solve the problem. Because lead is so much more dense than steel – approximately 45% greater – the company performing the upgrade is able to remove the existing steel or cast iron weights until they reach the point where a corresponding stacked height of lead counterweights will provide the necessary weight to counterbalance the new weight capacity. Each weight that the contractor removes is being replaced with a weight that is 45% heavier. Re-counterweighting the elevator becomes a simple math problem. Lead is often the only substitute that will do the job.

Steel Counterweights

Mars Metal also manufactures steel counterweights according to the size and shape requirements of the client.

  • Custom sizes and Standard OEM weights are available in any quantity

  • Production cut steel plates from Cobble, Secondary Plate, and Coil provide you with the lowest costs along with the highest quality


Forklift Weights

MarsMetal manufactures custom and production Forklift Counterweights to satisfy your specific requirements. Forklift types that commonly utilize counterweights are the stand-up rider and sit-down counter-balanced forklifts. Sit-down counter-balanced types commonly place counterweights in between or behind the rear wheels. Counterweights are used to secure a proper weight distribution and maintain stability, to prevent the vehicle from tipping over and to ensure the safety performance of the vehicle.

There are two main groups of forklift counterweights :

  • Bulk type: Specifically designed hollow body part at back end or between wheels that for space savings is typically lead filled.
  • Stack type: Cast metal housings / steel canisters or metal plates designed to stack onto a base plate. Stacking or removing enables configuration for maximum lift weight.


  • Complex lead counterweight castings for OEM’s
  • Straight lead fills into your fabricated or cast housings
  • All steel and lead filled counterweight additions
  • Designed and fabricated to suit your application

Lead Filled Forklift Counterweights and Counterweight Additions

  • When size matters, choose lead filled
  • Lead is approximately 45% more dense than steel
  • Counterweight or Addition can be smaller, shorter, narrower,etc.

All Steel Forklift Counterweight Additions

  • When size is less of an issue, choose all steel
  • All steel counterweight additions are generally lower cost than lead filled additions


Marine Ballast Weights

Mars Metal supplies Marine Ballast Weight products, such as sheet lead, lead shot and ballistic shot bags, and lead ingots.

In Stock:

Our talented and capable sales and engineering staff will work also with you to design a custom solution, manufacture the required weight(s) and deliver them to the site when you need them.

Our MarsKeel division specializes in all things marine…custom and production sailboat keels, internal ballast, custom prop shaft struts and much more. Please visit for more information.

Why use counterweights in the marine industry?

Counterweights used in the marine industry are used for two similar but slightly different reasons. When you build a boat of any size, you have to counterbalance the boat. In the case of a sailboat, you have to counterbalance it against the effects of the wind filling the sails. In the case of a motorized vessel, one needs to counterbalance the height and weight of the superstructure above the waterline in heaving seas and strong winds. Sailors might be heard referring to their boat as being “tender”. This is another term for improperly ballasted. Internal ballast is often how this is accomplished. Custom made, specially-shaped lead castings matching the shape of the bottom of the hull are placed at the deepest part of the hull and then distributed evenly fore and aft. Adding the right amount of ballast settles the boat lower in the water making it more stable and significantly safer. This ballasting process can also be accomplished by using standard lead ingots and/or lead shot to achieve the desired stability.

Another reason that you might need to consider marine ballast weight is to trim-ballast your boat. If you have just installed your new Corian countertops or that new water maker that you have always wanted, but now the extra weight has your boat sitting off level in the water. A few well-placed lead ingots or perhaps some custom-cast ballast shapes will do the trick to bring your boat back to a nice even keel.


Mine Shaft Weights

Mine shafts pose special and complicated elevator counterweight issues. Not only does the elevator car need counterweights but it usually requires guide wires to keep the elevator properly aligned within the mine shaft. Mine shaft elevators are critical for moving men and equipment through the various mine levels stretching hundreds, and often thousands of feet deep. The car itself requires a counter weight for elevators that are capable of carrying 50,000 lbs. or more of equipment to where it is needed but of equal importance is guiding the car properly. These guides are often heavily-weighted, highly-tensioned steel cables that reach all the way to the bottom of the mine. A huge weight usually made of dozens of custom lead castings anchor these cables providing the necessary guidance for the elevator car as it traverses the depths of the mine.

Lead is approximately 45% more dense than steel so by utilizing lead you are able to make the maximum use of the space available to you. Another great feature of lead is that it is a non-ferrous metal so it will not rust like other weight mediums such as steel or cast iron. Mine shafts are harsh environments so using a non-ferrous metal provides added life expectancy, reduced maintenance and provides a safer overall environment.

Mars Metal Company, Specialty Casting Division has worked with several customers to provide then with the “cooperative solutions” they require. Our talented and capable sales and engineering staff will work with you to design a solution, manufacture the required weight(s) and deliver them to the site when you need them. Challenge us and let us show you what we can do to solve your counterweight problems.


Window Sash Weights

Lead window sash weights are becoming the choice by many contractors over steel cast weights due to the space savings obtained. Lead is approximately 40% smaller in size than steel and lead is non rusting material. Lead counterweights can also be easily cut on site if required and reused for other weights.

Mars Metal provides a wide range of cast and extruded lead window weights, designed to facilitate the balancing of window sashes. We produce lead window counterbalance weights for both traditional and modern double glazed units. The variety of sizes we offer provides the flexibility in ensuring the optimal balance is met.

Features of our Window Sash Weights:

  • Custom sizes to meet your exact needs
  • Available in round, square or rectangular sections to your desirable length
  • Provided with or without centre holes

*Extruded stock sizes are subject to available stock dies


Damper Weights

Mars Metal damper weights work to counteract the affects of vibration. Vibration, as perceptible mechanical vibrations can be generated by many sources:

  • Transportation sources such as subways
  • Heavy truck traffic or street cars
  • Machinery in buildings such as HVAC units
  • People in buildings such as dancing, aerobics, chanting or cheering
  • Even the wind which can cause buildings to sway.

These vibrations can generate unwanted structure-borne sound, and in severe cases can cause damage to the structure itself.

Dampers can have several forms: seismic isolation dampers; tuned mass dampers; vibration control dampers, but the common thread to all of them is that they are very large, heavy weights that move in opposition to the frequency of the vibration or oscillations that the structure is experiencing.

Lead damper weights utilize the extreme density of lead to make the damper weight as compact as possible, and being a non-ferrous metal they will not rust. Mars Metal Company, Specialty Casting Division has experience with counterweights of every description and we are able to work with you to provide the weight factor and compactness that makes lead-filled damper weights so desirable.

Let Mars Metal provide the damper weight solution you need in order to minimize unwanted and potentially destructive vibrations. Mars Metal Company, Specialty Casting Division has worked with many customers to provide them with the “cooperative solutions” they require. Challenge us and let us show you what we can do to solve your counterweight problems.


Other Solutions

Mars Metal’s talented and capable sales and engineering staff will work with you to design a solution, manufacture the required weight(s) and deliver them to the site when you need them. We have successfully completed counterweight projects including:

  • Boom Truck Counterweights
  • High Reach, Articulating, Man-Lift Counterweights
  • Crane Counterweights
  • Theatrical Curtain and Prop Counterweights
  • Motion Picture Camera Boom counterweights
  • Overhead Door Counterweights

If you have a custom counterweight project you don’t see listed please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Brochures for Counterweights

Brochures for Counterweights
Preview Description Format Size Open
Information Sheets
Product Information Sheets
  40 kB Open
Production Technology
At Mars Metal our team of experienced designers, engineers, and trades people find innovative ways to...
  44 kB Open
Quality Assurance
Mars Metal is continuing to expand our ability to offer world leading products through an increased...
  45 kB Open
Lead Recycle Program
Mars Metal buys clean, heavy melt lead scrap. It might be overrun material from production work, sheet lead...
  39 kB Open

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News archive:
Mars Metal Recognized as a Member of the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (Feb 13, 2020)

05 - Metals
05 45 13 - Mechanical Metal Supports
05 59 00 - Metal Specialties
07 15 13 - Sheet Lead Waterproofing
08 34 46 - Radio-Frequency-Interference Shielding Doors
08 34 49 - Radiation Shielding Doors and Frames
08 34 49.13 - Neutron Shielding Doors and Frames
09 91 00 - Painting
12 57 16 - Welding Screens
13 49 13 - Integrated X-Ray Shielding Assemblies
13 49 16 - Modular X-Ray Shielding Rooms
13 49 19 - Lead-Lined Materials
13 49 23 - Integrated RFI/EMI Shielding Assemblies
13 49 26 - Modular RFI/EMI Shielding Rooms
14 28 19 - Elevator Equipment
14 28 19.13 - Elevator Safety Equipment
23 33 13 - Dampers
31 75 00 - Shaft Construction
34 82 00 - Bridge Specialties
34 82 13.16 - Tuned-Mass Bridge Vibration Dampers
41 35 33 - Molds
41 62 23 - Forklift Trucks