Continued Education – TimkenSteel Plant Tour

Timken

On May 17th and 18th 2016, Bergsen Metals’ Sales Representative, Sean Bradley, visited TimkenSteel’s Faircrest and Gambrinus plants in Canton, OH to see firsthand how domestic product is manufactured.  The event was sponsored by the MSCI.

TimkenSteel is self-described as “a top focused special bar quality, or SBQ, steelmaker in North America.” So, when the opportunity arose for a Bergsen team member to learn more about what Bergsen Metals does best, it was something that could not be missed.

During the visit, Sean and his tour group were privy to many of the details in the steelmaking process that are often forgotten by the time material hits distribution lines.  TimkenSteel provided an expert Metallurgist who spoke to the attendees and showed examples of imperfections in the metal, how the testing process works during steelmaking, and of course testing of the final product.  In addition to steelmaking, the tour group was given visibility to TimkenSteel’s piercing mill used to manufacture seamless mechanical tubing from solid rod bar.  Finally, the tour concluded with a demonstration of the quenching and tempering lines to which Sean said “It was interesting to watch when you didn’t know exactly how the process was done.”

Bergsen Metals and Sean would like to extend thanks to Jeff Grubich, Paul Hodson, Len Skillings and everyone else at the Timken plant for a great tour and class session.  It is an invaluable experience to further the knowledge of our associates in the metal industry.

As for metals distribution, Bergsen Metals stocks full lines of steel grades along the lines of what TimkenSteel manufacturers.  Bergsen Metals can supply 1018 cold rolled in all shapes, 1215 rounds, 12L14 rounds, 1144 Stressproof round bar, and 1045 TG&P, 4140 alloy bar, 4130 alloy steel, as well as stainless steel products.

 

Small Business, Big World – The Future is NOW

 

Here we sit in 2016 as a classified “small business.”  Once upon a time, this meant a loyal customer base, steady sales, and a decent roof over our heads; yet the climate of today’s world is screaming “Be BIGGER, Be Faster, Be Smarter.”  Which brings up an ever pressing topic … How does a small business keep up?  For ourselves, how does Bergsen Metals stay relevant in a metals market it has been serving for 42 years?

The industries served by the metals community is made up of some pretty heavy hitters – aerospace, manufacturing, auto, machining, tooling, fabrication, pharmaceutical.  This list goes on.  And when we think of this business sector, technological advancement is a phrase that quickly comes to mind. That is the “Be Smarter” we are trying to find.  A post by the MSCI titled “Shattering Industry Changes are Already Here” (2016) addresses the concerns of industry leaders as to where we are going and what we need to keep up.  The article quotes author, consultant, and futurist, Jack Uldrich, stating “Nano particles are making steel lighter and ten times stronger, materials that are already in use on oil rigs. New welding processes can now bond aluminum and steel. And metals and other materials will soon be self-healing, repairing damage when it occurs.”

This is exactly the type of thing a small business needs to contemplate – THE FUTURE!

Bergsen Metals supplies carbon bar, stainless bar, and aircraft alloys to all the earlier mentioned customer segments, however we not only want to serve our customers now but also in the future.  This can be a sizable job for any company much less one without a substantial R&D budget.  In a perfect world, we would hire top talent, collaborate with the biggest mills in the biz, and have all the monetary means possible at our disposal for the right moment to pounce on existing and emerging markets.  This often isn’t a reality for the majority of us dealing with day to day operations, but in some way, shape, or form, it should be.

So, the question becomes who, what, where, when, and why do we start?  Well, only you can answer the why, but the rest of the answers are at your fingertips.  Firstly, research and arm yourself with as much information as possible.  A quick online search will pour in results from market organizations and even unlikely resources that provide insight into the future of metals.  Second, prepare and plan for financial investment – Have capital available for when you need it.  There will be road bumps and failures, but progress over perfection is the goal.  Last but not least, be your own best friend.  Market new products until you are blue in the face.  The road warrior is still the best friend of any small business.

Perhaps this is an oversimplified view of preparing for things to come and maybe a little naïveté, but let’s be honest we aren’t building the rocket ships, only supplying the materials to do so!