Brothers Slitting, a toll processor that started up in 2007 in
Detroit, has expanded its processing capacity for a niche
The company, which
specializes in slit coil narrower than most service centers are
willing to bother with, has expanded to a second location in a
former Ford Motor Co. stamping plant in Maumee, Ohio, founder
and sales director James Gannes told AMM.
"My family was in the
split (breakbulk) and delivery business a long time," he said.
Established in 1939, the previous company "bought steel, slit
it, trucked it to customers and financed it. I am the third
generation and my son, Alex, is the fourth."
doesnt compete with the dozens of slitting houses that
have 60- and 72-inch-wide lines. "We are in the
50-inch-wide-and-under business," Gannes said. "We take narrow
coils and slit narrower coils out of them. We will slit and
resize to whatever a customer needs."
In Detroit, Smith
slits light-gauge material 0.010- to 0.125-inch thick and
widths from ⅜ to 15⅛ inch. By 2012, "our Detroit
plant was running at capacity. We saw a need for heavier-gauge
slittingup to 0.25-inch thickbut the Detroit plant
couldnt handle the extra work," Gannes said. He sought
capacity in the Detroit area, "but we ended up 75 miles away
(in Maumee)," where Ford had closed a 1-million-square-foot
stamping plant in 2009 and put it up for sale.
Gannes had a colleague
who purchased the plant as a turnkey operation. "There were 54
presses in that building and a complete machine
shopexactly the way Ford left it. Ford had just
completely remodeled the plant and installed a scrap collecting
operation," he said.
The plant continues to
produce first-operation blanks and stamped parts under new
ownership, but Gannes leased space to install a 48-inch-wide
slitter in the facility and has been ramping up for six
Changes in steel
selling have opened up opportunities for a niche player like
Smith Brothers. "Mills used to not sell to anybody unless they
had a plant or equipment. But anyone, even off the Internet,
can buy a coil. We are going after folks buying steel off the
Internet, stampers that need resizing or other slitting houses
that need narrow widths and wont waste time on their own
equipment. We do what nobody wants to do (slit narrow steel)
but needs to have done," Gannes said.
The company hopes to
reach $700,000 in annual sales very soon.