Going to the Next Level
Valley Iron, Inc., Fresno, CA was founded in 1958. The current owners, Jim and Lee Anne Briscoe, took possession in 1983, and under their guidance, the company continued to thrive in the fertile San Joaquin Valley of California. The firm had seen steady growth, and the Briscoes needed to make that fateful decision that all entrepreneurs must eventually face. Do we buy that property and enlarge the business, or do we stay in our current position.
It’s not an easy decision for any organization—and especially for a family firm, but there was one solid reason to expand. What’s that magical reason? “Pretty simple”, stated the Briscoes, “We wanted to take care of our customers”. Thus, Valley Iron, made the investment of twenty acres of land nearby, and in the first quarter of 2005, moved their operation into a beautiful new steel distribution facility. The new facility is only a mile from their original location, but now consists of over 100,000 square feet of warehouse and office space. By the way, this new move gave them plenty of space for added processing capability.
Processing Plate the Peddinghaus Way
The Briscoes had a definite plan in place when making the expansion. The building construction included a new 12,000 square foot structure housed specifically for their machine tool prize possession—a new Peddinghaus Powerhaus model FPDB 2500 Plate Processing Center. The Powerhaus FPDB 2500 combines multiple technologies into one machine, and combines multiple labor intensive tasks which are now performed by one, single operator. The machine can process plate up to 96″ wide and up to 3″ thick—and any size in between. Holes can be punched with a hydraulic press, drilled with a high speed Siemens motor, thermal cut to any contour shape or length by Hy-Speed plasma or oxy-fuel, and a carbide part marking system to identify the part. The machine has a “pass through” design so plates up to 60 feet in length can be loaded, and the finished parts simply drop off the dump table at the end of the machine.
Invest Now—or Sit on the Sideline
Valley Iron, which grew to more than 65 employees over the last 20 years, is now ready to become a one-stop shop for steel work, according to Jim Briscoe. The company’s business has doubled since 2003, which makes now the right time for the investment. “Investing in the Peddinghaus Plate Processing Center is just another step to our growth possibilities”, said Jim Briscoe. Nationwide, the growth in the steel industry—distribution and construction has been solid. But for Valley Iron, the growth is due to customer demand. Briscoe cited that customer demand was the main reason for adding Plate Processing capability. What Used to Take Hours, Now Takes Seconds “The Peddinghaus FPDB 2500 is fast and accurate—it can process the largest plate part in minutes.”
“This unique machine enables us to do things we could never do before,” says Jim, “In the past, we would have to take each step manually. But now this fantastic machine combines eight or 10 processes—eliminating all the manual work.”
Adds, Steven Elliott, Programmer, “Now, our customers can order exactly what they want; this is Peddinghaus’ latest model and the best technology available”. Training at Peddinghaus Elliott and Jay Phillips, Operations Manager, and David Morales, FPDB Operator, all flew to Chicago for training at the Peddinghaus facility in nearby Bradley, IL. The group enjoyed their visit. Jay Phillips adds, “The visit was very worthwhile. We learned a lot about machine programming and operation, but also excellent information on installation of the FPDB and processing plate more effectively and efficiently.” Save Time, Space, and Money “We installed the machine just inside our new building—with the infeed conveyors in the yard. With a lot of our stock plate stored outside, we can easily load the machine with a fork truck—and keep the machine operating.”
Take Care of Your Customers—and They Will Take Care of You
Making a big investment can cause a CEO or Corporate owner to lose many hours of sleep. But Valley Iron takes it in stride. The addition of processing will only increase their business. With a customer base that stretches from Stockton to Bakersfield and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Central California coast, Valley Iron is already established. Mix in their existing western regional business, and it’s easy to see that Valley Iron is creating a recipe for success. “The entire purpose of our expansion is to better meet the demands of our customers, states Jay Phillips, “so we do everything we can to make their life a little easier.” David Morales, the FPDB 2500 operator says with a smile, “I’m glad we have our Peddinghaus”!
Article reprinted from Peddinghaus Steel Fabricators Review. (PDF)