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Metal Fabricating
Monday | 27 April, 2009 | 2:02 am

Finding a niche

Farasey Steel sets itself apart with abrasion-resistant plate

By Lisa Rummler

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Farasey Steel sets itself apart with abrasion-resistant plate

April 2009- To succeed at a new job, employees must be willing to learn--no matter what skills the new guy brings to the table, there's bound to be at least some on-the-job training.

And when a particular business operation isn't taught at any school, it's critical that new employees regard their more experienced co-workers as teachers and consider their job an education.

This is the case at Farasey Steel Fabricators Inc., Cleveland, a company whose niche is working with abrasion-resistant plates.

Farasey has been a family-owned business since 1962, when Vice President Joseph Henderson's grandfather ran it. (The company was founded in 1857 with different owners.) Henderson's father took it over after that, and he remains semi-employed at Farasey today.

"With the type of work we do, there's no school you can go to and learn how to do this stuff," says Henderson. "We've got four or five guys who have been here for more than 25 years, so when someone new comes through the door, they're getting trained by the best. It basically has to be in-house training from quality employees who have worked here for years."

Abrasion-resistant plate material has a higher tensile strength and higher yield than A36 materials, and according to Henderson, the company has made a name for itself, working with this harder metal.

"We've developed the uniqueness of working with AR plate materials and higher-yield-strength materials," he says. "A lot of fabricators won't mess with it because of the skill it takes, and it can also become quite dangerous."

And although Farasey doesn't go out of its way to promote this distinctive production capability, people always seem to find out about it, according to Henderson.

"When people saw that we had a special talent working on it, word of mouth got around," he says. "One customer told another customer, and it grew over the years."

Varied but focused
Farasey also works with mild steel, A36 plate, manganese plate and different types of stainless steel. Henderson describes the business as a medium- to heavy-plate fabricator but says the company does dabble in machining work. Mostly, though, it focuses on plate rolling, plate forming, welding and burning (oxy-fuel, plasma and laser).

"Our bread-and-butter machines are a 600-ton Cincinnati press brake and an 18-ft.-by-40-ft. cutting machine, which is oxy-fuel/plasma," says Henderson. "We have a 4,000-watt Cincinnati laser machine and a 1.25-in.-by-10-ft. Bertsch plate-rolling machine. We also have an RS7 structural steel forming roll, which is used for forming angles, channels and beams."

The company also has numerous MIG, TIG and stick welding machines, and it has lifting capacities up to 15 tons.

A lot of Farasey's work is for steel mills, both local and international, and this often entails building vessel tanks and heavy ductwork.

"[And] I'm not talking HVAC ductwork," says Henderson. "I'm talking 0.5-in.-thick or 0.75-in.-thick elbows, cones and piping work. [Another] niche is taking a job from a flat plate and rolling it."

Farasey also indirectly does a lot of work for the military, and it has served industries ranging from automotive to aerospace to mining to pollution control. Because Farasey is a specialty shop, nearly all work is customized.

"I'd like to think every job we do is unique in its own way," says Henderson. "We don't have a product we specifically make day in, day out. Some people might specialize in making fuel tanks or something, but that's not us." FFJ

Last modified on Wednesday | 22 February, 2012 | 4:18 pm

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