Nearly five years ago, Ontario-based MetalCraft Marine, an integrated designer and builder of custom high-performance aluminum work boats, faced a much needed welding equipment upgrade. Oldmachines were failing, and downtime for maintenance and repairs was on the rise. In addition, inefficiencies in energy consumption forced the company to run fewer machines than their workload required. All of these issues undermined productivity. It was time for the boat building company to plot a course for more reliable equipment, lower operating costs and more efficient processes.
MetalCraft Marine, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with a facility in Cape Vincent, NY makes boats for firefighting, marine patrolling, search-and-rescue and related functions. Founded in 1987, MetalCraft Marine supplies government agencies in North America and around the world. Their customers include the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and various local and regional port authorities. Although 70 percent of their customer base is in Canada and the U.S., they also service customers in Oman, Zambia, Kuwait and Australia. The company employs a staff of 140 in Canada and 17 in the U.S. – and finished 2013 with $20 million in sales.
MetalCraft Marine’s profile of typical construction materials is exactly what the company description above would suggest. The vast majority (97%) of alloys used in the production is aluminum. Other materials include the occasional mild steel (2%) and stainless steel (1%). Thicknesses range anywhere from 5/32-inch to 1-inch. All welds are either butt or fillet welds, with occasional plug welds.
Regardless of materials or types of welds, aesthetics is an important part of the MetalCraft Marine work ethic. Sound welds may be the backbone of a well-constructed boat, but every member of the MetalCraft construction team also takes pride in the appearance of every weld on every panel.
Energy and Quality
Five years ago, MetalCraft Marine was using welding equipment that was approaching the end of its service life. It was time for an equipment update, a transition that MetalCraft General Manager Michael Allen and his crew saw as an opportunity to harness some energy-consumption, improve productivity and efficiencies.