Local manufacturer’s bushings and precision-machined components used in mines all over the world

Tim Lining of SC Industries

Timothy Lining, vice president and general manager of SC Industries, Euclid, Ohio is the husband of the founder’s granddaughter, Karla. Karla’s grandfather, Karl Schulz, started the business in 1946 with two partners on Luther Ave. near East 72nd St., Cleveland. It was then called Skyway Machine Products. Later, they moved to St. Clair Ave. and then to Euclid in the 1960s because the entire family lived in the area and, eventually, his children graduated from Euclid High School. In 1973, Earl Lauridsen, the founder’s son-in-law and Tim’s father-in-law, joined the company and remains the current owner and president. In late 2003, Skyway Machine was shut down, and it was planned for the company to be liquidated because of the downturn and difficult economic conditions. However, in early 2004, new orders started to return, and a new business was formed called SC Industries to handle new orders. Tim joined the company in 2004 to temporarily “help out” in the shop and has been coming back ever since. In late 2007, Earl’s partner and brother-in-law Ralph Fross passed away. At that time, Tim took over the front office.

But, his experience in the industry predates his employment at SC Industries. He’s worked in molding and machining since 1991, is a skilled CNC programmer, earned his degree in business management in 2007 and has taken additional CNC classes at Lakeland Community College. When asked why he went into machining, he says, “I like to do things with my hands and build things. When I was younger, I had a part-time job in a shop on Saturdays and liked it and the computerized machines, as well as the new technology coming in. I said to myself, ‘I want to learn how to run one of those things.’” His current role at SC Industries involves estimating, engineering, raw materials purchase, order entry and customer communication.

SC Industries manufactures precision, hardened-metal bushings and pins that are used in off-road construction, mining, transportation, printing, packaging and other industries. The company’s machinists precision machine steel, bronze, stainless steel and other metals to create bushings — a bearing or metal lining for a round hole in which an axle revolves. In simpler terms, according to Tim, “When you see devices where something is rotating, turning, or has a bending elbow, there is a pin and bushing, so that the bushing wears out from the friction instead of the equipment’s arm assembly. Then, it can be pulled and replaced.” The company also inspects the raw materials, heat treating and finished components to make sure that they meet stringent industry standards.

One of SC Industries’ biggest customers is Caterpillar, but their bushings and pins are used all over the world in digging equipment and in haul trucks that move loads of sand, pay dirt for gold mining, and rocks to crushers. The loads weigh more than 250,000 pounds, and the trucks are used in mines in Africa, Australia, Tasmania, South America, Canada and the United States. These are not the dump trucks that you see driving down the road. The tires alone on these are taller than a person. These bushings have to be heavy duty and range in size from ¾” to 16” in diameter by 12” long.

mining truck

Twenty-five people keep the company running and orders going out, including administrative staff, a quality manager, a production manager, CNC machinists, grinding machine technicians, general labor and maintenance. Most of these employees have worked for SC Industries for many years. When Tim was asked what his greatest challenge is, he responds, as most manufacturers do, “Finding quality, new employees, but I’m willing to hire people with no experience and train them from the ground up in SC Industries’ way of doing things. We are fortunate to have a great bunch of employees.” He continues, “Years ago, the schools started pushing college prep and did away with vocational and technical training, but it’s coming back. In my son’s high school, he can take HVAC, CAD, CNC and four to five other technical trade courses as electives.”

With regard to the state of manufacturing in Ohio, he says, “Business is driven by the large OEMs (national or multinational companies). The success of small businesses depends on how they are doing, and right now they are all at full throttle. In the last year, orders have noticeably increased. When commodity pricing is driven down, mining grinds to a halt. So, certain policies help or hurt manufacturing, but we have a bright future now. In 2004, we had four or five CNC turning centers; today, we are up to about 15. One of our most recent additions gives us a nice jump in size capacity, and I’ve been told it’s one of the larger 4-axis turning centers in the area with capacity to turn 32 ½’ x 98” in length and more than 8” of Y-axis milling travel.”

In getting to know the man behind the machine, Tim was asked what inspires him. He says, “I’m a devout Christian who is inspired by Jesus, and I want to see God’s love lived out in people’s lives. The Golden Rule is how I treat my employees — the way that I want to be treated.” He also gives back to the community by machining the parts for Euclid High School’s Robotics Team’s competition battle bot, donating money to charitable organizations and being a member of the Euclid Chamber of Commerce.

He also cares about the environment. He invested in LED lights and air cleaners/mist collectors for the shop. He switched from heat blowers to radiant heat tubes that heat the equipment and walls more efficiently and make for a better environment for his employees.

Tim has three sons and his wife, Karla, of 21 years. He says, “I wear many hats, especially here at work, but I like to separate between the work and the home hats. On the work side, I generally enjoy what we do here, and since I used to run CNCs, I enjoy being around that and making things that make all of our lives better. On the family side, that is the reason I am passionate about work – to support and provide for them – but, I also am responsible to provide for their spiritual nurture and development. I also want that to come through in the way that we run our business.”

SC Industries sleeves in grind process
Sleeves in grind process

Fourth-generation metalworking shop works to generate student interest in manufacturing careers

Beverage Machine & Fabricators machined part
Part (convector plate) before machining
Beverage Machine & Fabricators part being machined
Part during machining
Beverage machine & fabricators finished machined part
Part after machining

In 1904, George Hewlett founded Cleveland Union Engineering Company in Cleveland’s Flats area. The company handled industrial metal manufacturing, welding, fabrication and steel erection. Hewlett’s daughter married John Geiger, who is the grandfather of the current owner, also John Geiger, and great-grandfather of Jake who also works for the company. In the 1920s, it began to develop and build equipment for the distillery and brewing industries to clean and pasturize milk jugs and beer bottles, hence a name change to Beverage Engineering. In the 1940s, it moved to its current location on Lakewood Heights Boulevard and transitioned its focus from beverage machines to machining for the war effort, and in 1957 it found its current incarnation as Beverage Machine & Fabricators, Inc. What do these changes signify? Adaptability! And, Beverage Machine has found its niche.

Though the company no longer is part of the beverage machine industry, it has continued its journey in the metalworking industry and now machines (cuts or finishes) hard-to-machine metal parts made from inconel, monel, stainless steel and titanium. It also has larger machines that can handle bigger, heavier pieces (up to 10 feet in diameter and 24,000 pounds) for the steel, energy, power, mining, nuclear, aerospace and defense industries. For example, it did a project for SpaceX last year, a company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. Beverage Machine also only handles one-off pieces and smaller orders rather than high-volume production. Its orders range from one to 25 pieces at a time. Five years ago, it added waterjet cutting to its capability, which broke the company out of traditional metal machining. Using the waterjet, the company has done work for sign and glass companies and machined the glass awards for last year’s Tri-C JazzFest. With one piece of equipment, it expanded capacity and its customer base.

All of Beverage Machine’s customers are regional, and they are served by only 16 employees. The company mainly employees machinists and is looking to and is willing to train a suitable candidate. Josh Smith, Beverage Machine’s waterjet technician, says that the impact on today’s labor problem started years ago when schools did away with shop programs and put the focus on college prep. He’s worked for the company for 16 years, and his dad has been the plant manager for 25 years. He says, “When I went to school, the perception was that JVS [joint vocational school] was where the stoners and illiterates went and that everyone who can think goes to college.” He says that in five years everyone in the industry will be retiring, and there’s going to be a shortage of skilled labor. He adds that the industry has to reach students when they are 11 or 12 to show them that jobs in manufacturing are cool and innovative. To that end, he has started “ThinkSpark,” a grassroots movement to create a foundation in Lorain County to inspire and mentor youth to consider careers in manufacturing, to partner with schools and connect children with technical programs, to develop a makerspace for youth in the program, and to create a robotic competition similar to AWT’s RoboBots that takes place every April at Lakeland Community College.

John Geiger relates that the manufacturing industry in the area is healthy, but that his biggest challenge, which is the same for all manufacturers, is finding skilled labor or even unskilled labor who are interested in technical training. Recently, he met with representatives from Lorain County Community College about bringing students in for an apprenticeship training program.

From Founder John Geiger to his son, John Geiger, a machinist, to his son, John Geiger, a history major and sales specialist, to his son, John, aka Jake, Geiger, a business management major, the company has stayed in the hands of this capable family for four generations. John says about his business, “There is enough domestic need, and our niche gives us enough work. China can’t serve these industries because customers have a part dependency and need it today.” He shares, “I get satisfaction in seeing what we create every day. It’s a tangible result.” His son, Jake, adds, “It’s rewarding to have a part come in and see the finished part leave the shop.” As Josh Smith sums up, “What sets John apart is that he can see the greater good and a need. He sees what we can do for the next generation. It’s not about making money. It’s about family.

Beverage Machine & Fabricators shop with gantry crane
One of two shops and the gantry crane used to lift heavy parts

 

Future looks bright for AWT RoboBots contestants

Euclid High School Robotics Team at 2017 AWT RoboBots

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Joe Powell, HGR’s graphic designer)

It was a gloomy overcast day out at Lakeland Community College for the 2017 AWT RoboBots Competition, but the future looks bright for the students on “The Untouchables” robotics team at Euclid High School. They worked all year at perfecting their weapon, and with early tests it looked like it paid off. The Untouchables were in the pit making last second adjustments while awaiting their match. They looked nervous but eager to see their bot in action.

The morning’s matches began with big hits and fast finishes. The weapons were causing a lot of damage and some matches were over after the first hit. It was Euclid’s turn to step into the octagon. Their weapon looked as impressive in their first match as it did in the test runs. As the bots charged each other, The Untouchables’ weapon struck the first blow hitting the team from Perry, Ohio, hard and disabling their weapon. After a few more hits, Perry was sent scrambling around to try and recover without a weapon. Unfortunately, the drive system for Euclid started to fail, and their mobility was slowed to a plodding stumble. They could hit Perry hard enough to knock them out, but couldn’t move enough to target them. Perry took advantage of this by maneuvering around them and eventually pinning Euclid to the side a few times, earning them points from the judges. Even when Euclid used their one release, Perry was able to use their agility to once again pin The Untouchables. That proved to be too much for the team from Euclid, and they lost a judge’s decision in the first round, which sent them to the consolation bracket.

They were disappointed in the pit. Their weapon could do the job, but moving was an issue and needed remedied. They all jumped on a task and got to work immediately. Time was an issue with the next round beginning in 20 minutes. They had to recharge and make improvements on the fly. Before you knew it, the announcer was calling Euclid to the set-up and weigh-in table. They tested the movement, and it seemed to have improved some, but not to the point they had hoped. It was do-or-die time for The Untouchables.

Their next opponent was a team from Pennsylvania, and Euclid wanted to show what their bot was made of. From the start, the bot wasn’t moving how they wanted it to; so, they planned their attack around their inability to move. The other team worked hard to move around them and hit Euclid hard with their weapon, which sent Euclid’s bot up in the air. When it landed, however, Euclid’s weapon made contact with their gear and knocked their weapon offline. The Pennsylvania team tried to maintain the aggression and pin The Untouchables, which resulted in a few points from the judges. There were just seconds to go when the Pennsylvania team tried to approach one last time. It proved to be their undoing. Euclid’s weapon caught the other team’s bot hard and sent it through the air for a last-second knockout in dramatic fashion. The Untouchables would live to fight another round.

The stage turned to the JuniorBots Competition which gave Euclid over an hour to work on their bot. Coming off their exciting victory, they wanted to get the bot back into the best shape for their next match. Euclid won on a forfeit due to the power failure of the other bot. They needed to win a few more to battle back into the finals bracket, and their next match was a tough one against Kirtland.

Kirtland‘s bot was fast and compact. The weapon was similar to Euclid’s but smaller and more direct in its attack. From the start, Euclid still was moving slowly but adapting well with a defensive strategy. Kirtland was moving around Euclid as if it were testing their defenses. After a few small hits, Kirtland went in for the kill. Euclid took the first few shots like a champ, but their weapon couldn’t lay a good hit on the faster, more agile bot. The Untouchables bot was fighting, but pieces were being torn from it by the other team’s weapon, and its bot was so low to the ground, Euclid couldn’t lift it when it did make contact. As buzzer went off and its bot lay in pieces, The Untouchables day was over.

As I walked out at the end of the day and looked at the sky, it was still gloomy and overcast without a single ray of sun. As I look to the future of Euclid High School robotics, it looks very bright. They have a weapon to be reckoned with and small improvements to be made to the drive system. When it all comes together, I may be writing this same article next year, with a very different outcome.

This year’s winners were repeat champions from 2016, The A-Tech Machinists from Ashtabula. They defeated Beaumont in the final round to go undefeated for the regional bracket and are on their way to the state finals. As a reward, they received the $500 scholarship from HGR Industrial Surplus, which I presented to the winning team.

A-Tech Machinists winning $500 scholarship from HGR Industrial Surplus at 2017 AWT RoboBots

Top 10 questions about HGR Industrial Surplus

HGR Industrial Surplus Showroom Aisle-way

We get questions all the time about what we do, and people are curious about what we sell. So, we put together this Top 10 list of interesting tidbits, trivia and fun facts about HGR for your enjoyment.

What do you do?

HGR Industrial Surplus buys new and used machinery, equipment, furniture, supplies, fixtures, shelving and more. You name it, we’ve sold it. Yes, even rugs, leather, wine glasses, printer ink cartridges, pottery molds, sinks, tile and more.

What’s the heaviest item that you’ve ever sold?

A large press that weighed 150,000 pounds!

What’s the most expensive item that you’ve ever sold?

A press for $89,999

What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever bought?

15,000 hammers

What do you sell the most of?

Electrical items

Who are your customers?

Makers, machinists, hobbyists, welders, manufacturers, engineers, maintenance employees, DIYers, woodworkers, contractors, store and business owners

Why did you locate in Euclid, Ohio?

Euclid had the building that would work for us. We were able to commit to the space we needed at the time, while also having options to grow. It was perfect for our short- and long-term plans.

Edwin Merced HGR Employee of the MonthWho was your most recent employee of the month?

Edwin Merced, showroom operator, was nominated and voted April’s Employee of the Month by his coworkers at HGR. He was nominated for “supporting everyone with openness, honesty, trust and respect while working as a team to achieve our common goals. He creates exceptional customer relationships by enhancing awareness and expectations of outstanding service with every interaction. Edwin does all of this with a smile on his face.”

Who’s the employee who’s been there the longest?

There are 11 employees who have been here since the beginning, 19 years ago: Founder Paul Betori, Buyer Jeff Crowl, Partner Rick Affrica, Buyer Jim Ray, Partner Brian Krueger, Showroom Floor Supervisor Rich Lash, Sales Rep Steve Fischer, Receiving Supervisor Chuck Leonard, Partner Ron Tiedman, Sales Admin Libby Dixon, and retired Buyer Doug Kopp.

Brian and Ron started in sales and now are part owners, while Rick started as a buyer and now is a part owner. Chuck and Rich started as forklift operators and are now supervisors. Jim, Jeff and Steve have retained and expanded our clientele with their wisdom and mentor our buy and sales staff. Libby has consistently been our dependable sales admin and customer greeter.

HGR employee Chuck Leonard
Chuck
Andrew Ciecerko HGR employee
Andrew

Who’s the employee who drives the furthest?

We have employees who drive in from all over, including Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit and Stark counties, the far eastern suburbs, as well as Pennsylvania.

Chuck Leonard, receiving supervisor, lives in Erie, Pa., and drives 93 miles to work on Monday morning and 93 miles home on Friday night. The rest of the week, he stays 40 miles away in Geneva at his mom’s house. He’s done this for 19 years! That’s dedication.

Andrew Ciecerko, inventory clerk, lives in Williamsfield, Ohio, near the Pa. line. He drives 70 miles each way every day.

HGR aerial view

Thanks for reading! Do you have other questions about HGR that you would like answered?

Thoughts from Justin: Undecided about your career? Consider becoming a machinist.

machinist

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Justin Mobilian, HGR’s sales & marketing summer intern)

With the retirement of the Baby Boomers approaching, many manufacturing and machinist jobs will need to be filled. How many? 2.7 million. The problem? Many millennials lack the skills and experience (myself included).

Why be a machinist?

For starters, you DO NOT need a college degree. I have several friends who opted out of attending college, have a steady job and are doing financially well (if you guessed that they’re a welder, you are correct). Second, the average salary of a machinist in the United States is $41,000 to $46,000 (depending on the state in which you live).

No college debt. Almost guaranteed a job immediately. AND starting pay somewhere in the $40,000s. Still interested? I thought so. Keep reading.

Where to get proper training

Okay. So, now I have your attention. Great. Unfortunately you aren’t going to land a machinist’s job once you finish reading this and applying for a position (I mean, you might), but with a little work you will. If you’re still in high school, there is a good chance your school has a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). If so, enroll. Even if it doesn’t interest you, you’re hurting yourself if you don’t. Who knows, you may love it!

If you’re not in high school (probably 99% of our readers), there is no need to worry. There are PLENTY of ways to get trained and experience to prepare for your future in machining. While it is possible to land a job with no experience, it is recommended to complete an apprenticeship.

In an apprenticeship program, you’ll study anything from machinery trade, operations, CNC programming and much more. These programs can take anywhere from 2-4 years and can be taken at a technical or community college. You may ask how this differs from a college degree, and I don’t blame you. One thing – money. YOU GET PAID TO BE AN APPRENTICE. YOU PAY TO BE A STUDENT. Need I say more?! Didn’t think so.

You completed your apprenticeship. What next? Two options: You can jumpstart into your career as a machinist, OR you can obtain the NIMS Credential (National Institute for Metalworking Skills). This will help you stand out from your competition. Perks of this achievement includes receiving a nationally recognized honor, improved professional image, secured job placement over others and many more. All you have to do is pass an examination, which should come with ease since you just completed a few years of training.

Don’t want an apprenticeship? No worries. Forget about who your best friend is. Google is your new best friend. Use it to your advantage. There are HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of online training classes. Unless you have no Internet access, there is no reason for you to not be able to find online training classes.

Even with all the training you receive, you will never be perfect at the job. That’s why companies require on-the-job training (OJT) to become a highly skilled machinist. All you need to do is land the job. From there on out, your place of employment will take care of you.

Get the training. Get the experience. Get your credentials. Land your dream job. Start earning hard-earned money. Advance your career. Be a machinist.

Who started Labor Day, a machinist or a carpenter?

Labor Day with American flag tool belt

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Now, that’s something to celebrate! Hopefully, you get a day off from laboring so that you can recharge your battery and enjoy whatever it is that you love most. For many of our customers, that includes building, fixing and creating things. And, Labor Day was founded by a hardworking tradesman, but which man?

Some say that Matthew Maguire, machinist, proposed the holiday for American workers in the 1880s, but others argue that it was Peter J. McGuire, carpenter. Either way, it was a great idea, and two Fathers of Labor Day is even better than one.

Thank you, to these two gentlemen and to all of you, for the hard work that you do to keep American manufacturing going. Everything we use to make our lives easier was made by someone. Remember him or her as you use some of those products each day, especially today.