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South Carolina Metal Fabricator Expands Offerings
With increased demand from the military industry and continued strength in serving the medical industry, Metalworx Inc., has recently expanded its finishing operations and is pursuing Nadcap and AS 9100 certifications.
Metalworx (www.metalworxinc.com), an industrial machine and fabrication company based in Summerville, S.C., provides full-service conventional and production machining and metal fabricating services to primarily the medical, steel, military, and automotive industries in the southeast. Because the military industry requires work involving multiple operations, Metalworx (ITAR certified) recently opened a new finishing division a mile down the road from its 40,000 sq. ft. facility. Called Pro-Coat Finishing LLC, the new division is committed to meeting the military demand, which has increased about 10 percent for the company during the past year.
Military work can often involve multiple operations, such as special cart painting, parts stamping, laser cutting, welding, grinding, inserting temp studs, gasketing, iriditing the parts, paint, and stamp marking. "There are a lot of value-added services involved with these parts, and that's why the military requires a full-service shop that can get it all done and not have to source it out to multiple outside services," said John Oldham, director of business development for Metalworx. "We can do it all in-house now."
Making parts and assemblies for military enclosures, antenna mounts, and armor-protected vehicles are some examples of the work the company completes for the military industry, which is continuing to become robust due to the company's location near the port of Charleston and proximity to a Navy base where work is being generated from SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command). "It's a big engineering division of the military," Oldham said. "They design the products and sub it out to other systems integrators, and we end up getting all the metal work from all that design. There are quite a few of those systems integrators around here, and we're third tier down from SPAWAR," Oldham said.
The company's screen printing division is in high demand from the military as well. A new screen printing operation was put into place at Pro-Coat (www.pro-coatfinishing.com) to meet the demand, he said. "Before, we felt like we couldn't control the quality or delivery. Basically, we got to the point where we couldn't depend on our outside vendors because if we sent it to a vendor and had the part coated and then brought it back here, it's still coming from us. So if we got dinged on a quality issue because the paint quality looked bad, that reflected on our own internal quality system," Oldham said.
About 50 percent of Metalworx's business comes from the medical industry, which has remained strong, carrying them through the recession. "As the population ages, more hospitals are being built or getting remodeled, so the need for new operating rooms has not decreased," he said explaining that the company makes mainly operating room equipment, such as tables, lights, and booms. For Metalworx, one growing area of medical demand is for sterilizers that are used to wash medical instruments.
Metalworx recently invested in two new CNC machines to help boost productivity and efficiency while cutting costs. One machine is a lathe with lab tooling where "you can do the milling and the turning at the same time, which reduces setups because you don't have to do your lathe work on one machine and then move it to a mill," Oldham said. The other CNC machine is primarily for making 4-inch diameter bar stock rollers for the iron working industry to be used for conveyors picking up I-beams from a steel mill.
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