East End Welding
“Right now, we’re running our Mazak SpaceGear nearly 24 hours a day, with a 2 -3 week backlog,” said East End Welding Vice President Dave Dockery, “although we usually maintain 60 to 80 hours per week on it.” Not bad for a company that bought their SpaceGear in the middle of a recession without a single 3D job to run on it.
“We had seen a lot of auction fliers cross our desks by mid 2003,” he said “when John Susong, owner of East End Welding, and I started talking about what preparations we needed to make for when the economy turned positive. There were plenty of 1,500 and 2,000 watt 2D competitors in our area. We knew we had to offer something to set us apart, which is why we went with the SpaceGear 5 x 10, 4,000 watt laser.”
You would have to search to find an application that East End Welding’s 70,000 square foot ‘job shop’ facility isn’t capable of, “We offer oxy, plasma, hi-definition plasma, water jet, 2D laser, sawing, shearing, press breaks, rolling, sandblasting, stress relieving, and painting in house. We sell hours, and we’ve found that we can sell a lot of hours on the SpaceGear.” Dockery continued, “We wanted to come out of the slowdown strong, so we put another weapon in our arsenal.”
With over 500 active customers, Dockery had the opportunity to show East End’s new acquisition to a large captive audience, “We walked a lot of people through early on and they would go away thinking of ways to use the SpaceGear. At the start, all the orders were from current customers, but for new parts. We were getting to quote on parts from our client base that we never would have been considered for. On that 3D work, we’re hitting on 95% to 100%.” The SpaceGear’s ability to eliminate process steps and downtime between has dovetailed nicely into East End Welding’s philosophy of passing the savings along to the customer to earn more of their business. “Obviously, to have such a high success rate, you must be very capable and very fair to the customer. The Space Gear is an expensive piece of equipment and we know we can’t make it all back on one job, you’ve got to have their repeat business.”
Dockery also noted the role that word-of-mouth advertising has helped to build the 3D business for East End Welding, “The industry is smaller than people think,” he said. “Once the word got out that we had the 3D capability, we started getting inquiries. We’ve also received referrals directly from our Mazak representatives, where someone will call them and ask for the name of a company like ours with a SpaceGear on the floor.” Other jobs are coming in from machine shops for projects that could be considered direct competitors, “We’ll have a company sending us work that they won the bid on, but in the end couldn’t complete. We’re problem solvers for those clients.”
Most of the jobs East End Welding is running on the SpaceGear were converted from traditional manufacturing operations. “It’s the old way of cutting, drilling and beveling on three machines verses doing it all on the SpaceGear, with a better fit, at a reduced price with a shorter lead time,” said Dockery. “We’ve been very clever with the technology and it has saved us on parts that we used to struggle on.”