My name is Eric Friederichs. I am the president of Master Metal Products. I’ve been working here for 45 years. I started [working here] as a high school job, cleaning the shop. Then I learned how to run all the machines over the years and ended up purchasing the business.
I’m proud to work at Master Metal Products because [we have] great customer service. Our ability to turn around customer jobs as quickly as they need them [is] in large part because of the equipment we run. We do anything from mining equipment to transportation industry to defense – [we have] a lot of defense work. Our product’s very important to a lot of our clients because we do a lot of “just-in-time” manufacturing. When a customer comes in they usually need their parts in one to two days. With our ongoing production work, to fit that in is always a challenge, but with the Whitney 3700, it’s easy to do change-overs to run different products.
I believe most of our customers are confident in our workmanship, our ability to deliver on time, and our honesty. Our Whitney combination punch plasma machine plays a huge role in all of our parts that are fabricated. Almost every job that comes into the shop runs through the Whitney. It has punched the holes and plasma-cut out the parts. They’re usually within five to ten thousandths of an inch. [They] go straight into the press brake for forming and then over to the robot for welding. They have to be right, otherwise the robot won’t know where to weld it. So that’s why we rely on the 3700 so much.
The current Whitney we have now is 15 years old. Before that we had a 3500 we ran for five years but we found that we wanted to run heavier plate, so we went up to the 3700. We’ve had Whitneys ever since I’ve been working here since 1971. We had the old tape reader machines and I started running one of those in 1972 and it played a critical role right away, as soon as we started running them. We found we could increase production on any part. That’s why over the years we’ve constantly been upgrading our machines with new Whitneys. Our production on this machine is increased substantially by the fact that it has 37 stations for tools with a robotic arm. We just program it, it goes in and grabs the punch, punches the holes and then plasma cuts the parts out.
Whitney as a company [produces] one of the highest quality built machines that I’ve ever come across. Because we buy Whitney machines, we have very little downtime. Very little downtime. The 647C is one of the most reliable machines I’ve ever seen. It just it does not break. We’ve upgraded the controller three times on it and that’s always been to increase productivity. That machine was purchased, I believe, in 1978 and has been running ever since.
I believe Whitney is a different company because they put they go the extra mile to build things so they’ll last. They actually, in my opinion, built them heavier duty than they really need to be, but they do that for a purpose so that they will last. The buying process was very simple and every time we purchased the Whitney it’s very simple. They’ll either come in here with a contract or we go over to Rockford and sign the contracts and it’s just a very smooth process. They deliver on time and install and train and everything goes as planned.
What gets me really excited about the machines is when I walk into the shop in the morning I hear them pounding away, punching holes, burning parts, and see the stack of parts that it’s put out every day, gets me really excited. The quality of the parts it just makes everything flow through the shop at incredible speeds.
The favorite thing about the Whitney is that it’s the fastest way we have to punch holes and fabricate parts. It’s a lot easier to run just 20 parts on the 3700 than it is to shear and punch one hole. It’s just the ease of use. We run from 100-thick aluminum to one-inch thick stainless or hot rolled steel on that machine, even though it’s rated for three-quarter. We run a little heavier when necessary and the reason for that is we purchased the machine with a 400 amp hypertherm, which is a great power supply. We can cut any thickness we really want to on that machine.
The Whitney saves us a lot of time on the programming aspect – on the whole aspect of running a part through the shop. I recommend Whitney for anybody interested in a punch plasma machine, a laser machine. Any equipment for fabricating metal, I would go to Whitney to purchase. They’re the best built machines that you can buy for metal fabrication.