It’s no small testament to be able to say a business has been going strong for more than half a century, but All Metals & Forge Group has been manufacturing and selling open die forgings and seamless rolled rings to a variety of industries for 51 years.
And if Lewis Weiss, the company president and CEO, has anything to say about it, that success will continue for another 50 years.
All Metals & Forge Group is an ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D manufacturer of custom and standard open die forgings and seamless rolled rings in carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, tool steel, nickel alloys, cobalt, aluminum, copper, and titanium. Forged shapes include large flat and hex bars, blocks, gear blanks, all flange shapes, flanged shafts, step shafts, discs, hubs, rings, cylinders, and sleeves. Industries that use the company’s services include aircraft, aerospace, automotive, chemical, construction, defense, energy, engine and turbine, food processing, hydro, metalworking, mining, oil and gas, petroleum and power generation, pulp and paper, and shipbuilding.
Serving gear-related businesses
To that end, about 60 percent of All Metals & Forge Group’s business is gear related, according to Weiss.
“Seamless rolled rings is a primary product and is used in the gear industry for manufacturers to produce gears,” he said. “We can make rings up to a 200-inch diameter and down to about a 4- inch diameter. We do some things that other forge shops don’t do. We always supply rough machines parts with an RMS finish — sometimes designated by the customer. But typically, we do a 250 RMS or 125 RMS. Sometimes, if a customer wants 64 RMS, we’ll do that. We drill holes; we can do contour forgings.”
When it comes to the gear industry, those businesses typically want a clean finish, according to Weiss.
“Some of the forge shops don’t do this; they’ll give them a raw unmachined part,” he said. “We give them a rough machine part. It saves them time, and it saves them wear and tear on their equipment because we’ve already taken off the first rough cut of the ring. All-inclusive in our pricing is that we will do ultrasonic testing, which obviously is checking the parts internally for cracks, pits, voids, and so on. We do that as a matter of course. If somebody buys 1,000 rings from us, every part gets ultrasonically tested, and we don’t charge extra for it. It’s in the price, but our price is so competitive that we can give them a machine-ultrasonically-tested part for less money than a raw forged ring.”
Unique customer approach
That extra mile of service has made All Metals & Forge Group quite competitive in the industry, according to Weiss.
But the company offers an even more unique approach with its customers. With every new customer, Weiss and his team sends them a sample, but it’s not just any sample. It is a physical, hands-on example that is able to demonstrate a variety of All Metals & Forge Group’s skills.
“We send this out to a new customer who knows nothing about us and maybe doesn’t understand or can’t appreciate what we supply,” he said. “This is clearly rough machined with drill holes and with every one of the corners, the chamfer is all different.”
The chamfered edge examples serve to show how fine that can be. The sample is also engraved with heat numbers (and the company’s name and phone number, obviously). It also includes several RMS finish examples — 250 RMS on one side and 125 RMS on another, according to Weiss.
“The customer gets a real good idea of what they’re going to get,” he said. “This has been a very successful tool for us to send out to our clients. I like doing things that are different.”
More than just customers
All Metals & Forge Group takes a vested interest in its customers, so much so that Weiss said he sees them as more than just customers.
“We like to partner with our customers; I don’t just want a client; I want a partner,” he said. “I want to help them get an order so that we can get an order; 80 percent of our business is legacy business.”
And as the company’s business continues to grow, that means that the 20 percent of those new customers end up being legacy accounts as well, according to Weiss.
“That’s been our philosophy, and it’s worked extremely well for us,” he said.
All Metals & Forge Group has been registered as an ISO company since 1994, which includes an ISO 9000 rating. Since 1998, the company has achieved its AS 9100 rating, which is the aerospace version of ISO.
Another growing industry that All Metals & Forge Group supplies products to is the wind- energy industry, according to Weiss.
“We are also involved with wind, and with wind, there are turbines, and inside the turbines are gears that are forged,” he said. “We supply those parts for wind energy as well.”
Weiss is quick to point out that his company has always been an early adopter in a variety of ventures, which makes renewable energy customers a foregone conclusion.
“For example, All Metals and Forge Group was the first metals company in the United States that had its ISO registration in 1994,” he said. “I got a lot of pushback from employees, but the day that we got our certificate in the mail, one of the salesmen got a phone call from a company in Wisconsin, and they said, ‘I have an inquiry. I need to buy this product; however, my customer has required that I only buy it from an ISO-registered company, and I can’t find anybody.’ And that was the first order — the first day that we got the registration. Once that one salesman got it, we got a $60,000 order. And I never got pushback after that. Everybody got it.”
So what started out as a marketing tool became an integral part of the company’s essential offerings as industries eventually made ISO certifications standard operating procedures, according to Weiss.
That’s just one example of how Weiss and his team have tried to stay ahead and competitive throughout its long history.
‘Manufacturing Talk Radio’
All Metals & Forge Group’s recent history has pushed the company into the popular podcast space.
“I come from, as my age indicates, the radio era, and I constantly listen to radio; I love radio,” said Weiss, who recently turned 80. “In 2013, I came up with an idea about getting more of a message out to the manufacturing sector about manufacturing. So, we created a podcast called ‘Manufacturing Talk Radio.’”
Since its inception, “Manufacturing Talk Radio” has done more than 750 shows, and at the beginning of the year, Weiss said they started syndicating AM and FM radio stations throughout the country.
“We are on one radio station in upstate New York, and the numbers are amazing of the people that we are reaching, as well as the messages that we are getting out to the audience — the audience mainly being manufacturing, including a lot of students, universities, research labs, and publications such as yourself,” he said.
All Metals & Forge Group’s podcast is just one way Weiss said the company is embracing technology and staying at the forefront of the latest innovations.
“AI is the big thing now — machine learning,” he said. “We’re involved in all of these things, and from two aspects: We’re a supplier of parts forgings involved in these various industries as well as supplying to other companies and manufacturers about how to improve, how to run your business, how to deal with the skills gap, how to deal with new technology, and software.”
Manufacturing Outlook E-zine
In addition to “Manufacturing Talk Radio,” All Metals & Forge Group has been publishing a monthly e-zine for the past several years to replace its email newsletter established in 1988.
Manufacturing Outlook is a publication educating, informing, and alerting its subscriber base about the “outlook” for all thing manufacturing in a looking forward approach, according to Weiss.
Even with all the company offers, Weiss said every job is still a challenge — one that he welcomes.
“Forgings are a custom-made product: They have specifications; they have ultrasonic requirements; they have machining requirements; they’re different alloys,” he said. “The past three years have been particularly a challenge with regards to COVID disruption in the supply chain. Now we have issues with inflation, which has really gotten out of hand but seems to be improving a bit. And there are other issues that don’t necessarily directly involve the customer, but we do have geopolitical issues, China issues, Russia issues, and all of these things in one way or another do affect us. And not only us at All Metals & Forge Group, but us as in our manufacturing sector in this country. So, to that extent, we do work with, talk to, and engage with our customers.”
With all its offerings, both physical and virtual, All Metals & Forge Group has been able to carve out quite a significant niche within the forging industry and the manufacturing sectors that need its products, according to Weiss. And that success always comes back to keeping an eye on the future.
“We sometimes have our customers on our show,” he said. “It’s a video podcast, and it can be seen on YouTube, Spotify, and all the rest of the platforms, and the numbers that we’re seeing are of people who are interested in manufacturing, including kids. The college thing is getting to be old school almost; 40 percent of college kids don’t graduate, but they still wind up with a $200,000 debt. But with manufacturing, three years ago, four years ago, you never heard about manufacturing in the news media — never heard of it. Now you hear about it pretty regular.”
To be sure, Weiss’ tenacity also plays a large part in his company’s success, as well at what comes next.
“As an early adopter, I’ll be there; I’ll be 90, but I’ll be there,” he said. “I love dealing with people in the manufacturing sector, and I’ve been doing it for over 50 years. It’s extremely educational. The people are really terrific. They’re hard workers, particularly the people who own businesses. They appreciate things like (our podcast), which is educational to them.”
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