Alex Benyo, president of the company, and Blake Rhein, vice president of sales and marketing, talk about the evolution of Taylor Winfield Technologies and discuss the importance—and impact—of recent investments into research and development that has the company expanding to new markets and generating more business than ever. Steve Engelhardt reports.
In the late 19th century, owners of two sheet metal companies operating under the respective names of Taylor Corporation and Winfield Corporation decided to capitalize off of what was an amiable personal relationship at the time and join forces, in hopes of taking their businesses to the next level.
Combining the two enterprises proved to a be a prudent decision, as the newly formed Taylor Winfield Technologies soon took off, and by the 1920’s, had firmly established themselves as a leader in the manufacture of galvanized steel buckets for the burgeoning coal industry, a position attained by their development of a cutting-edge resistance welding process. “Electricity was still in its infancy back then, so the development of this technology, which uses two electrodes to grow a welding nugget between them, firmly established Taylor Winfield as not just a high-quality manufacturer, but also as innovators in the field of welding as well.”
The company’s success has only grown from there, and their manufacturing proficiency has led to a rich history filled with notable partnerships and accomplishments, such as flash welding all of the landing gear in the U.S. military’s B-52 bombers during World War II. “We excelled during the war years, but beyond that have continuously built upon our reputation to become a company today that, in addition to manufacturing high-quality standard welding machines, is highly dynamic in our ability to develop application-driven solutions for our customers,” says Benyo.
A Series of Investments
In addition to their experience, Taylor Winfield has always been focused on building meaningful relationships, and it’s interesting the way things have recently come full circle for the company with regards to such. Around 2010, they were under the control of a 3rd generation owner who was ready to retire, yet didn’t have any legacy heirs that wished to take over the business. With a desire to keep the business local, he turned to Benyo and his brother Brian, who already owned a couple businesses in the area, most notably their joint fabrication business, Brilex Industries. “Taylor Winfield actually gave Brilex Industries its first purchase order back in 1996,” Benyo says, adding, “and then fourteen years later we found ourselves acquiring the company.”
Shortly afterwards, Taylor Winfield Technologies acquired Boltech Inc., a move that expanded their product line and allowed the company to subsequently enter and significantly impact the material handling market.
“We have evolved to the point where we have a product line that impacts a number of different markets, a manufacturing presence that can handle any type of demand, and most recently, have invested significantly into a research and development laboratory to ensure that the success Taylor Winfield has had over the last century can be met and surpassed in the coming one,” Benyo says.
The research and development lab, in particular, is critical to the company’s future. Rhein says the lab, which features over $600,000 worth of cutting-edge equipment, enables them to identify current deficiencies in their processes and improve upon them, while also providing a dedicated platform to develop next generation technologies and capabilities to be employed in the future. “We focus on innovating for both the present and future, and our machinery, which includes new laser welding and joining equipment, enables us to meet a wide variety of needs and requests made to us by our customers,” he says.
The company’s commitment to fostering innovation in a flexible manner has led to them bringing a number of new technologies and products to the market.
For example, last year Taylor Winfield unveiled a brand new, patented flash welding process called Force Freeze. “The process extended the range of materials capable of being joined using conventional flash butt welders, eliminated ‘checker boarding,’ and minimized the formation of oxides, carbides, and nitrides which can often disrupt the weld region and cause weld joint failure,” says Rhein.
The technology is especially critical given the steel industry’s shift towards higher strength, lighter weight steels, as well as the increasingly higher demand for aluminum within the auto industry as well. “This induction heating process can be adapted to many older machines, like C-flat welders, so that they can join and process a much greater range of materials that are in demand in today’s markets.
Additionally, Taylor Winfield recently developed a new flash control called the IWS 5.0, which by using Force Freeze technology, allows flash butt welders to use high strength materials via flash bulb welders, whereas in the past they would have required the use of laser systems. Benyo says this is particularly important given the rise of aluminum in the automotive market, where customers would much rather prefer a welding technology employed in the joining process, rather than “stitching”—a process which pierces and curls the materials to join them together but often leaves the equipment damaged.
Aside from these technologies, Benyo says their most recent development has come in the area of fiber laser processes. “Whereas CO2 lasers utilize mirrors to direct the beam where it wants to go, a fiber laser uses fiber optics, which provides us with a much more effective laser for the welding applications we pursue,” he says, adding, “It also allows us to be much more flexible in our ability to deliver it repetitively and to the right place without having to perform continuous adjustments to such.”
Benyo and Rhein both agree that while this display of innovation is critical to their current and future success, perhaps even more significant is the manner in which they engage their customers.
Commitment to the Customer
With over 50,000 of their machines being utilized in manufacturers worldwide, including within the plants of industry giants like Boeing and John Deere, Taylor Winfield has proven that its ability to service the customer is just as important as their machines’ ability to perform reliably and consistently. “We understand that if our customers are successful, then so are we,” says Benyo, adding, “Treating every partnership with the same level of commitment and dedication, we combine our dynamic workforce of engineers and open-minded philosophy towards our machines to create a flexible option for companies no matter their size.”
In fact, Rhein recalls a recent instance with a customer down in Brazil, who also happens to be the world’s largest steel producer by tonnage, where they stepped in and provided a critical solution in order to keep the company running along smoothly. “They were introducing new materials into their process stream, but the traditional seam welding process they had in place was experiencing a number of difficulties joining such materials due to their chemistry,” he says, adding, “The material was very brittle, creating a high probability that the joints would break.”
He says that their team of engineers put their heads together and developed an inline induction heating system to go inside the company’s seam welders that tempered the weld and restored the ductility of the welded joint, allowing the user to have a high degree of confidence in the integrity of the weld. “It was critical for them, because when you think about their ties to supplying the automotive and other major steel-based industries, a break in their line could shut the factory down for a couple of days and create huge losses in tonnage.”
Combining a commitment to innovation and customer service has Taylor Winfield Technologies looking stronger than ever. It’s a company with roots that stretch deep into the ground, yet its growth in recent years has it pounding its way forward towards an exciting future.