About MetalCraft Marine
MetalCraft Marine is a Kingston, Ontario-based integrated designer and builder of custom, high-performance aluminum work boats for government agencies in North America and globally. Customers include: the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and various local and regional port authorities.
Five years ago, MetalCraft Marine needed a welding equipment upgrade. Old machines were failing and downtime was on the rise. In addition, inefficiencies in energy consumption forced the company to run nearly half the machines that their workload required.
The boat-building company wanted to increase reliability, lower operating costs and drive process efficiency. They also had to achieve all of this without disrupting service on its industry-leading 10-year warranty on hull seams.
Lincoln Electric’s Power Wave® S350 welding power source, along with the Power Feed® 25M wire feeder, dramatically improved energy efficiency and production. Today, MetalCraft runs eight machines at a time rather than just four.
“We were able to double our weld output per day – or even tripled it in some cases – because the machines only drew between eight and 12 amps most of the time, so our house power didn’t need to be adjusted.”
The improvements went beyond the new equipment. MetalCraft also benefited from Lincoln Electric’s technical welding support and onsite education.
“Lincoln spent a great deal of time with us, spec’ing out exactly what we needed,” said Allen. “And then when we brought the equipment on board, they spent four or five months returning periodically to work with our welders to bring them up to speed and identify any tweaks that could be made – both in terms of the equipment itself and the peripheral equipment, such as the welding guns. They worked very closely with us to redefine our welding procedures to take full advantage of the new and more advanced equipment.”
“The quantifiable and dramatic improvements were almost immediate,” said Allen. “The Lincoln equipment, and the consulting advice that came with it, probably enabled us to improve our aluminum welding efficiency by 20 percent. That’s a 20 percent reduction in the time it takes to build a boat. Those machines all paid for themselves in less than a year…The end result was less rework, better appearance, fewer quality inspections required, and improved efficiencies as well.”
The utility savings enabled MetalCraft to double its welding capacity. The increased capacity equated to an increase in sales by more than 300 percent over the past five years.
“We have good procedures identified in preset user memories, and that makes it easier,” said Allen. “You can program the setting you want. So, the guy just has to press a button or two and everything gets set up. He’s not tweaking the controls. Plus, it has a couple settings on it that make it easier for a relatively new person to use compared to an experienced person, and still get good results.”