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

 

LCCC works with manufacturers to create apprenticeship programs

On Mar. 20, a group of educators, manufacturers, state liaisons and manufacturing nonprofits met at Lorain County Community College for its “Power of Apprenticeship” conference. Keynote Speaker Denise Ball of Tooling U-SME gave an enlightening presentation on the Zs and Millennials, our future workforce, and how communicate effectively with them in order to attract and retain new talent as well as the need for intergenerational training. Chrissy Cooney, outreach specialist for LCCC, presented an industry panel via video that included a manufacturing company, an apprenticeship trainer at that company and two apprentices in the program. She also presented an overview of how a state-registered apprenticeship program works, including the $2,500 stipend for employers participating in the program. For more information about the Z and Millennial generations or to receive a whitepaper on the topic of the Millennials, contact Denise Ball of Tooling U at 866.706.8665. For information about LCCC’s assistance with an apprenticeship program, contact Tammy Jenkins at 440.366.4833 or Chrissy Cooney at 440.366.4325.

Denise Ball Tooling U SME

LCCC hosts “The Power of Apprenticeship” event

LCCC Lorain County Community College logoClick here to register for Lorain County Community College’s “The Power of Apprenticeships” event on Mar. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m at LCCC’s Spitzer Center Room 117/118 at 1005 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria, Ohio. Here’s the agenda. All manufacturers are welcome! You should attend if you are interested in a state-registered apprenticeship program that helps employers upskill incumbent workers and allows them to hire unskilled workers who will become highly skilled workers. HGR Industrial Surplus will be there.

8:30 – 9 a.m. – Breakfast and Networking

9:00 a. m. – Welcome

9:05 – 10 a.m. – Keynote Speaker

  • Denise Ball of Tooling U-SME,

Z’s & Millennials – Your Future Workforce

10:00 – 10:15 a. m. – What Industry has to Say?

  • Introduction of Apprentice Ohio team:
    • Erich Hetzel – Apprenticeship Service Provider
    • Georgianna Lowe – Field Operations Supervisor

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. – Break; Snacks and Beverages

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Learn how a Registered Apprenticeship Program works

11:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Q & A

Cleveland Job Corps needs help starting a manufacturing technologies training program that will feed area manufacturers with a skilled workforce

HGR lathe

The WorkRoom Program Alliance, part of the Dan T. Moore Company, is partnering with Cleveland Job Corps, Coit Road, Cleveland, Ohio, to create a manufacturing center at the Job Corps facility in order to offer manufacturing technologies training. This is about workforce development and creating a skilled workforce, folks! Something that every manufacturer I know worries about: filling those vacancies with skilled labor.

Here is their needs list so that they can align with federal standards. As you can see from the list of equipment, this is a seriously valuable program for local manufacturing.

Can you or anyone you know help? HGR is checking its showroom to see what we have that would be suitable, but I’m sure other organizations in the area might be able to make an equipment or financial donation to get this program off the ground. Contact Gina at HGR if you can help: gtabasso@hgrinc.com.

QuantityEquipment
1Comparator
1Drill Press
1Drill, Electric, Portable DWT
2Gauge, Height RUT
1Grinder, Bench, Electric
4Grinder, Die, Pneumatic
3Grinder, Die, Pneumatic
1Grinder, Metal, Floor, Electric BAL
1Grinder, Metal, Floor, Electric FALCON
1Grinder, Metal, Universal SHOP FOX
1Grinder, Portable, Electric DELTA
3Grinder, Portable, Electric DUM
1Grinder, Surface CHEV
1Lathe, Computer Programmable
1Lathe, Metal, Engine, Permanent
2Lathe, Metal, Engine, Sliding Gap KIN
1Lathe, Metal, Engine, Solid Bed ACR
1Lathe, Metal, Engline, Permanent ACE
2Lathe, Metal, Engline, Permanent JET
1Machine, Bending CHI
1Machine, Forming PEX
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable EMC
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable INT
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable TEC
1Milling Machine, Computer Programmable TEC
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACE (1)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACE (2)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACR (1)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical ACR (2)
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical DAY
1Milling Machine, Metal, Vertical FALCON
3Plate, Surface, Stone
1Router PTR CBL
2Sander, Portable, Orbital SKIL
1Saw, Circular, Portable, Electric DWT
1Saw, Metal Cutting, Band WIL
1Saw, Metal Cutting, Circular MIL
1Saw, Reciprocating PTR
1Sharpener, Drill Bits OTMT
1Vacuum, Wet/Dry
  
 
QuantityTechnology
1Combination TV/VCR/DVD
1SMART Board technology
13D Printer
15Scientific calculators, such as TI-30xa
  
QuantityFurniture
12Student Desks
12Student Chairs
2Student Computer Work Station
1Instructor Desk
1Instructor Chair
 
QuantityHand Tools
 QA and Measuring Tools
10Set of 1″ Mics, 6″ dial calipers and 6″ scale
16″ digital calipers
10Metric scales
1Gage blocks, 81 pc. Set, grade B
2Surface plate, 18 x 24, lowest grade
1Surface plate, 24 x 36″ with stand
2Height gages, vernier
2Height gages, 12″ dial
3Angle plate
1Plug gage set from .011 to .500″
5Holder for plug gages, to make go/no-go gages
2Machinist square
6Combination square
10Tape measures
5Drop indicators with magnetic stand and 22 pc set of points
3Vee blocks, set of 2
3Test indicator set
3Radius gages, set covers 1/32 to 1/2
1Set of 5 micrometers covering range of 1″ to 6″
2Thread gages for 1/4-20 UNC-2B, for NIMS benchwork project
1Optical Comparator, 14″, new, with Fagor Digital Readout and cabinet, Suburban Tool
1Stage center for Optical comparator, MV14-CTR
1Estimated equipment shipping costs
 Metalworking Tools
5Scriber
5Hammer, ballpeen, 8 oz
1Parallels for milling vise set
1Milling vise, TTC, swivel base, 6″ wide jaws, opens 5-1/2″, wt. 100#
1Vise, angle, for drill press
10Allen wrenches, set
5Oil cans, small
12Files, mill
12Files, rattail
12Files: bastard
20File handles
1Tap and die sets, including wrenches
2Hammer, ballpen, 16 oz
5Power hand grinders, (Makita)
1Drills, complete 1 to 60, A to Z, 1/64 to 1/2″, set
5Reamers, for specific projects
5Dead blow hammer
3Bench vises
4Worktables
8C-clamps, assorted sizes, 2 of each
10Eye loupes
1Tapping head for drill press w/ collets
5Prick punch
1Soft jaws for vise
1Drill chuck for milling machine, for NIMS
2Magnetic base for indicator
1Millermatic 210 MIG welder
1Miller Synchrowave 180, TIG welder
1MSC 3-in-1 metalforming machine
  
QuantityPersonal Protective Equipment
1SDS “Right to Know Station” and HMIS labels
1Red can for rags
2Fire extinguishers, recharble for student practice
1Eye wash station
1First aid kit
1Lock out/tag out kit with forms and 10 booklets
1Spill clean up kit and additional “snakes” and oil-dry
1Hand washing facilities
  
QuantityConsumable items
1First aid supplies
1Red and green labels, for good and bad parts
3Layout dyes
1Dye remover
20Hacksaw blades
3Replacement files: bastard, mill, rattail
5Handles for files
1Replacement files: bastard, mill, rattail
5Deburring tools, countersinks
1Metal for projects, should be donated but if have to purchase
26″ buffing/polishing wheels, for pedestal grinder
50Discs for hand power grinder/sander, abrasive
20Discs for hand power grinder/sander, polishing
10Cutoff wheels for hand power grinder
1Sandpaper, sheets: series of rough to fine
20Scotch-brite pads, medium and fine
1Oil, lubricating
3Cutting fluid (tap magic)
1Surface plate cleaner
2Stones for surface plate
1Sharpening or replacing reamers
3Recharging fire extinguishers
1Misc
1Shipping
1Curriculum, workbooks, and certification testing
QuantityOther Items
1Annual Contracted Machine Maintenance, Service & Repair

HGR drill press

Local, no-cost, residential-training program graduates skilled workers

Cleveland Job Corps graduation

    The background

Are you aware of a skilled-workforce resource in your own backyard that can help your business fill positions or help someone you know get no-cost job training? At 13421 Coit Road, in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, there are a bunch of yellow buildings behind a fence that look like a small college campus or a military base. They house Cleveland Job Corps offices and classrooms, its 100 employees and space for 346 residents, aged 16-24.

In 1964, as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty program, which also included Head Start, Job Corps began repurposing and renovating former military installations into dormitories and classrooms.

The current Cleveland location is the third in the area and was built in 2007-2008. The first was on Ansel Road near Martin Luther King Blvd. The second was in the Tudor Arms Hotel on Carnegie Ave. There are 126 Job Corps locations in the United States with at least one in every state. In Ohio, there are three locations: Cleveland, Dayton and Cincinnati.

Owned by The U.S. Department of Labor, the facilities are operated by private contractors. Serrato Corporation of Tucson, Arizona has operated the Cleveland facility since 2012, in addition to Blue Ridge, Virginia, and is a subcontractor at the Charleston, West Virginia, facility.

Mr. William Houston has been the Cleveland center’s director since 2012. He has been with Job Corps for 17 years and is a Dayton, Ohio, native. He says, “We have evolved from an organization that was perceived as a last-ditch effort if a student didn’t finish high school and have shifted to a residential vocational-training center for. We are seeing more students who finished high school and who want to take advantage of free technical career training. Often, students were homeless because of the current trend of couch surfing or crashing temporarily with family and friends. They usually have had jobs but want a career and don’t want to pay $10,000-20,000 for a college training program.”

How it happens

There are five phases to the program:

  1. Outreach and recruitment
  2. Career preparation orientation (60 days receiving employability skills, customer service coaching and an array of self-assessments, as well as basic certifications, including information technology skills and program-placement assessments)
  3. Career development (six months to one year of training in the facility, offsite at Cuyahoga Community College and in work-based training internships; all transportation is provided)
  4. Career transition (one to two months prior to leaving, students work with staff to develop a departure plan while obtaining employability certificates and credentials , as well as resume and portfolio preparation)
  5. Student placement services for up to 1.5 years from graduation (centers are held by the government to a 92-percent placement goal for graduating students, which includes employment, the military, a college or advanced training)

During their time in the program, students receive free housing, basic medical care, meals, education, training, entertainment and recreation, and a biweekly living-allowance stipend that some save in order to become independent. They also are exposed to a positive normative culture with a zero-tolerance policy (no drugs or alcohol, bullying, violence, weapons or arrests). Students can go home on the weekends and during the holidays. They are drug tested upon admission.

The program is self-paced; so, students can start any day of the year and graduate all year long, not in a set semester-style like other schools. Last year, Cleveland had an 89-percent placement rate. But, to keep that percentage high, they need the help of local companies.

What’s in it for employers

The Job Corps screens graduates and works with employers as a pipeline for graduate placement. The organization produces future workers and feeds the workforce with well-trained, motivated, entry-level employees. Employers can provide students with the training that they need while, at the same time, giving the student a “trial run” in a paid or unpaid internship. When students graduate, many companies end up hiring them because the students already have basic safety skills, life skills, industry certifications and on-the-job training, unlike hiring someone from a temporary or job-placement agency.

Some of the local companies that have benefited by hiring graduates include Donley’s Construction, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, John Carroll University, Swagelok and Pipefitters.

The Cleveland facility trains students in four industries: advanced manufacturing (facilities maintenance, machine technology and welding), construction (heavy equipment operator, bricklaying and carpentry), health care (child care development, clinical medical assistant, medical administrative assistant, nurse assistant/home health aide, emergency medical technician), and security and protective services. Job Corps currently is partnering with Dan T. Moore Company and Workroom Program Alliance to equip a welding and machine shop on campus so that students do not need to travel to Tri-C.

In closing, Houston says, “We want to increase awareness that there’s a training facility preparing young adults for the workforce right here in Cleveland at no cost to the student. Our mission is to get young adults ready, and they are willing and able. These are the youth who stood up and decided to be proactive. They’re here, not on the streets. They have the skills, training, education and drive to become your next great employee.”

If you’re interested in partnering with Cleveland Job Corps, you can contact Harriet Hadley, business community liaison, at 216-541-2526 or Hadley.Harriet@jobcorps.org.

Cleveland Job Corps facility maintenance studentCleveland Job Corps carpentry studentCleveland Job Corps bricklaying studentsCleveland Job Corps brick student1

Local bolt manufacturer had its roots in WWII war effort and supplies bolts to critical applications

excavator loading dump truck at construction site

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Alex Kerr, corporate secretary, Kerr Lakeside)

Kerr Lakeside Inc., 26841 Tungsten Blvd., Euclid Ohio, was started in 1945 by Charles L. Kerr. He then organized Krafline Industries for the manufacture of a special military fastener. Once World War II ended, the company discontinued operations until 1947, when the company was renamed C.L. Kerr Industries. It regularly bought and sold products from another Cleveland company, Lakeside Machine Products Company, which led to a merger in 1958. The new company was named Kerr Lakeside Industries.

Expansion continued for Kerr Lakeside in the 1950s and 1960s as the company made additions to its facilities on St. Clair Avenue numerous times. In 1965, Kerr Lakeside moved to its present location on Tungsten Boulevard in Euclid Ohio. Kerr Lakeside continued to make expansion to this facility and invested in two buildings next door through the end of the century, as equipment was purchased and space to hold inventory was necessary. The business has remained a family-run business since the beginning, now in its third generation of ownership, under the leadership of Charles Kerr II.

Today, Kerr Lakeside Inc. manufactures hex socket screw products, precision-machined parts, and cold-headed components. The largest portion of Kerr Lakesides business is its sale of high-strength, critical application fasteners. These high-strength fasteners are produced on one of Kerr’s seven cold heading machines. This process takes a steel blank and presses it between a punch and a die to form the metal into a fastener blank. This process can reach speeds upwards of 200 parts per minute and results in no loss of material, unlike machining that removes metal to form the parts. After the fastener blank is formed, the threads are rolled between two dies that form the threads of the fastener. Both these processes allow for the part and threads to be formed with little to no material lost and provide for a higher strength part. Last, the parts are sent out locally to a vendor for heat treating to increase the strength of the fastener. All parts are then inspected at Kerr Lakeside’s in-house laboratory to ensure they meet the required specifications.

Kerr’s full line of hex socket screw products is sold through distributors across the United States and Canada. These fasteners are used in a wide range of products, including automotive, machine tools, tool and dies, heavy-duty machinery, and mining equipment. Kerr says, “The bolts can end up in critical applications, such as in vehicles and motorcycles, trucks, construction equipment, cranes, molds and dies. Bolts aren’t the most exciting thing, but they do an important job.”

One of the many challenges for Kerr Lakeside, like many other manufacturers, is the availability of skilled labor. Kerr has taken an active role in the industry’s efforts to develop its workforce going forward. Kerr is a member of a number of associations — Precision Machined Products Association, Industrial Fastener Institute, and Alliance for Working Together — that encourage manufacturing as a career path by working with students and educators of local schools. Several area community colleges, including Lakeland Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and Lorain County Community College, now offer two-year manufacturing-related programs as a result of the associations and their members.

Kerr Lakeside also supports local businesses. According to its plant manager, the company has bought a National Acme screw machine, belt sander, conveyors, shelving, motors and pumps from HGR Industrial Surplus and has sold surplus equipment to HGR, as well.

Kerr Lakeside logo