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Better mousetrap design a game-changer for business

Keywords: Tags  Jemison Metals, Rick Rowland, Advanced Gauging Technologies LLC, AGT, Scott Cook, AGT800, Bill Beck

When privately held Jemison Metals was planning its new state-of-the-art steel service center in Decatur, Ala., the company specified new technology for thickness testing of the coils that would flow through the center. And that likely meant abandoning its long-time supplier of thickness gauges.

Rick Rowland, vice president of quality and technical services at Birmingham, Ala.-based Jemison Metals, said the company had five Advanced Gauging Technologies LLC (AGT) isotope thickness gauges at its existing service centers in Alabama, Ohio and South Carolina. But when Jemison Metals began seeking quotes for a new thickness gauge at its Decatur service center, “we realized that the isotope gauge was not going to cover the full range of thickness” of material at the new center, which would include galvanized, cold-rolled and hot-rolled carbon steel.

Jemison Metals found an option from another company for a gauge it liked, but the company was hesitant to sever its relationship with AGT. “AGT has been a good supplier,” Rowland said. “They are very responsive, very personal in their response.” He called AGT chief executive officer Scott Cook and said that if the Ohio company could design and produce a laser thickness gauge, Jemison Metals would consider purchasing that for Decatur.

That was summer 2013, and AGT took up the challenge. The first AGT800 laser thickness gauge was installed at the Decatur plant in December and commissioned the first week of January. “Jemison prides itself that we don’t take chances on new technology,” Rowland said of the AGT800. We felt the risk was minimized because AGT told us if it didn’t work they’d get us a system that would.”

Jemison Metals has been very happy with the new laser thickness gauge, which gives the company more flexibility than it had with the isotope thickness gauges, Rowland said, predicting great things for the AGT800. “They are going to kill the marketplace with this. ... It’s a solution with a price point that’s amazing. They are going to do quite well.”

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