Family plan

By Lynn Stanley

Above: Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Edmunds and his wife, Nina are attracting new customers and winning work from overseas with the company’s family atmosphere, commitment to service and high-quality products.

Job shop combines old-school craftsmanship with punching technology to serve diverse applications

September 2016 - The entrepreneurial spark runs strong in the Edmunds family. The story is a classic one. “My dad, Tom, always wanted to be his own boss,” says Matt Edmunds, vice president and chief operating officer for Edmunds Metal Works, Bradenton, Florida. “So in 1978 he and my grandfather, Bill Edmunds, started a small fab shop in their garage. Employing what Matt Edmunds calls old-school sheet metal work, the two men gradually carved out a niche in the custom golf and utility vehicle accessories market. Matt Edmunds, a 6-ft., 9-in.-tall former basketball player, recalls when he, too, succumbed to the lure of metalforming.  “I was taking business courses in sports management recreation and leisure studies during my junior year of college when my parents asked me to come home and consider joining the family business. Looking back over the last 20 years, I’m happy with the choices I’ve made.”

This year Edmunds and his wife, Nina, will carry on the family tradition. The pair plan to continue expanding a company that has grown into a full-service custom sheet fabrication and short-run production house while retaining its lead in the golf car and industrial vehicle markets. Club Car, EZ-Go and Yamaha are regular customers but Edmunds Metal Works also does work for companies like Ringling Brothers and other National Patio Furniture companies.

The job shop can shear, punch, notch, cope, bend, roll form, weld and powder coat everything from tanks, tubs, custom boxes, machinery components and performance parts to aluminum table tops, brackets and gutters. Whether a job is a one-off, short run or high-volume contract gig, Edmunds Metal Works offers cost-efficient solutions while consuming hot-rolled and cold-rolled carbon, stainless and galvanized steel, paint grip and aluminum.

FFJ 0916 punching image1

Both the Euromac MBX 1250 and BX 1000 punching machines are supporting a growing demand for Edmunds Metal Works’ golf cars and industrial vehicles.

Simple sophistication

A growing customer base put the fabricator in the market for new punching equipment. “We had a Euromac CX750 that was nearly 20 years old and we knew it was time to replace it,” Edmunds says. “Our work revolves around punching. The Euromac machines are reliable and simple to operate.” Comeq, White Marsh, Maryland, is the U.S. distributor for Euromac, which also builds CNC punching, notching and bending machines. 

Edmunds installed a Euromac MBX 1250 in 2014 followed by a Euromac BX 1000 in July 2016. Both are CNC punching machines with the flexibility to process everything from basic sheet metal panels to complex parts for a wide range of applications. “We punch every part we make,” says Edmunds. “Our old machine required us to perform a lot of manual layout. The MBX 1250 turret punch eliminated that extra time along with the potential for errors.”

Eric Lenhart, vice president of Comeq, says the MBX model “gives job shops like Matt’s the flexibility to easily and quickly set up the machine with the right tools for the job at hand.” It can hold up to 60 tools with auto indexing for 30 tools. “I’ve been the point guy for Euromac for 21 years. The story is always the same: Customers love the machines for their simplicity of operation and their ability to make very sophisticated parts.”

Ninety percent of the material Edmunds feeds the punches is 0.062 in. up to 1⁄4-in. aluminum but the company also punches 14-gauge soft copper and brass, steel up to 11 gauge and stainless steel up to 14 gauge.

Squares, rounds and shaped material as well as panels for cab roofs, doors and jambs are standard fare for Edmunds Metal Works but the craftsmanship and dedication to quality has also landed it some unusual jobs. Workmanship, Matt Edmunds says, is anchored by the Euromac punches.

FFJ 0916 punching image2

The Euromac punching systems have also allowed Edmunds to take on custom jobs like these multi-level stands to house dolls of characters in the ice show “Frozen.”

A major family entertainment company contracted Edmunds Metal Works to provide powder coated, multi-level, cubicle platforms to house dolls of characters in “Frozen,” the ice show. The job shop has fabricated tiger cages and trains for a circus. In addition to punching metal for these projects, the Euromac machines equips Edmunds with the ability to create special features that enhance product performance.

“We make a cab enclosure that has doors and a roof,” says Edmunds. “Because of the wide breadth of the components you have to form a bead line to strengthen the material and give it style and structure. The Euromac punch allows us to form metal. It’s a neat feature.”

Window cutouts are another high-volume product. Edmunds’ father used to perform nibbles for cutouts by hand. “The BX punch performs 800 hits a minute in the nibbling position,” he says. “It’s a nice little workhorse.”

The job shop has also found ways to use its new punches to aid other craftsmen and break into a new market. Edmunds Metal Works has a small investment in an Outlaw drag racing team that is NHRA/IHRA certified and licensed. A chance meeting with a fabricator making components by hand for Innovative Race Craft sparked several ideas.

You can’t beat quality

“[The fellow fabricator] was making rear wing kits for the back of the race car,” Edmunds says. “He was using a cardboard template to cut metal with hand shears and then hand-finish it. The process took him about three hours. We were able to bend the part and then punch it with the MBX in about 10 minutes. The CNC punching machine leaves a clean edge. We’re now on our fifth version of the rear wing kits because the fabricator customizes them to fit each car. The Mustang and Cutlass, Monte Carlo kits are the most popular.”

FFJ 0916 punching image3

Edmunds can process a wide variety of parts and materials as well as panels for cab roofs, doors and jambs with Euromac punching systems.

The family atmosphere, commitment to service and high-quality products continues to pull in new customers and win work back from overseas. “We lost some standard production work for some of our aluminum [parts]. The suppliers outsourced overseas but poor part quality eventually brought them back,” Edmunds says.

“We have to fight for our business a little more today and the Euromac punches help us do that,” he continues. “We build our industrial van boxes, food boxes and tool boxes to withstand the rough terrain of resorts and work sites. Each of our products is fully welded and water resistant yet easily installed by one person. [Competitors’] products are basically put together with metal screws or rivets with little welding. Boxes are going to shimmy and shake and aluminum will fatigue eventually. We’ve gotten feedback that our product stands the test of time and boxes that we sold 10 to 15 years ago are still being used. It’s good to know our stuff lasts. And we’ve won back many dealers that way.”

Despite its offering of high-end products and custom builds, Edmunds Metal Works still holds on to some of its old-school practices. “Anyone can visit us,” Edmunds says. “We don’t use CAD but cardboard is a huge friend when you’re trying to match a compound curve or radius. We can take a picture on a napkin and turn raw metal into a functional yet beautiful product. “

Like Edmunds Metal Works, the Euromac punches are simple sophistication. Anxious to see what else the machines can do, Edmunds says, “I’m looking for more punching work.” FFJ



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