Manufacturing Day 2012

Merchants Fabrication and American Steel and Aluminum

Auburn MA

5 October 2012  was the first annual (hopefully) Manufacturing Day where manufactures around the country open their doors and show to the public what it is they do.  I was fortunate enough to be able to visit these two companies in Auburn MA.  Located next to each other on Elm Street just off I-395. An easy drive up from Preston which was nice considering I had driven the same road yesterday on the way to the October NEMES meeting.

At both companies I was made to feel very welcome and neither company had any objection to my taking some photos of the operations.

My visits started at Merchants Fabrication where General Manager Mark Fisher guided myself and two other fellows around the manufacturing floor.  Merchants is, as the name would imply, a fabrication company the creates and assembles products for others.

Of particular interest to model engineers Mark said that the company might be amenable to helping out a hobbyist with water jet or other work that they have the capacity for.

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DSC07955.JPG (206727 bytes)  This shear has the capacity to cut 1/4 mild steel

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  Bending Brake


DSC07956.JPG (177864 bytes)  DSC07957.JPG (241778 bytes)  Whitney Punch press and a very extensive collection of punches

DSC07958.JPG (148011 bytes)  DSC07959.JPG (179088 bytes)  Water jet machine

DSC07960.JPG (193495 bytes)  DSC07961.JPG (161651 bytes)  This is a job that is currently in the shop.  It is some sort of de-humidifier piece


From Merchants I drove next door to American Steel and Aluminum.  The two companies are separated by a rail siding which I discovered went into the ASA building!  They receive steel and aluminum rolls direct off the rail cars.  Then the material is straightened, cut to length, sliced to width and re-packaged for shipment to their customers.

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DSC07967.JPG (228122 bytes)  DSC07965.JPG (188409 bytes)  DSC07966.JPG (196491 bytes)  The first photo is the straightening section of the machine.  Material comes off the roll received by rail car and run through the straightened before being sheared to length.

DSC07968.JPG (161192 bytes)  Several of the large rolls of material that ASA gets in

DSC07969.JPG (192172 bytes)  DSC07970.JPG (186676 bytes)  DSC07971.JPG (192086 bytes)  DSC07972.JPG (233333 bytes)  Some of the material handling equipment

DSC07973.JPG (181936 bytes)  DSC07977.JPG (160779 bytes)  Coils that have been slit to width as required by ASA's customers

DSC07974.JPG (224182 bytes)  DSC07975.JPG (166940 bytes)  DSC07976.JPG (143321 bytes)  Another of the straightening and shearing machines

DSC07980.JPG (191769 bytes)  DSC07980A.JPG (195227 bytes)  DSC07979.JPG (156426 bytes)  DSC07978.JPG (158166 bytes)  The slitting machine is quite an impressive unit.  Left to right is the slitting section with the cutters mounted on a mandrel with spacers to accurately create the desired widths.  The second photo has arrows pointing to the cut lines. Rolls come n 48 inch widths but the edges must be slit to guarantee accurate measurement to they can't get tow 24" panel from a 48" wide roll.  The narrow strands on either side of the sheet is the trim from the edges which is being wound onto a spool for re-cycling.  In the right photo you see splitter discs that guide the material onto a take up roll. 


If you see your exhibit or machine and would care to drop me a line or two, or even a paragraph, about it I will be delighted to add your comments to this page.  Please send to   To identify a photo just hover your cursor over the photo and a tag should pop up.  Please use the last three digits of the tag to identify the photo. For  example if the tag came up  DSC03974.jpg (205067 bytes) the info I would need is 976.jpg. If this is a multi page unit the page number would also be useful.

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