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Wednesday | 01 March, 2006 | 4:07 am

Pushing the envelope

By Lauren Duensing

For Bar Stock Specialties Inc. the drive to distinguish itself from the crowd and satisfy its customers beyond the traditional role of a bar distribution company led to a decision to take the plunge into manufacturing of stainless steel bars. Choosing to make this move allowed BSS to become "your specialty bar distributor with specialty bar processing."

The company commissioned a new facility in Houston in 2002 and charted a new course toward something rather unique in this day and age--a domestic stainless steel cold finishing facility. The idea for this venture came from the desire to aid job shop manufacturing companies, and the shop was built and equipped to facilitate the needs of Houston-based OEM suppliers and fastener manufacturers The market needed good suppliers with short lead times and competitive pricing, due to material shortages. Along with the Houston complex, BSS has warehouse and shipping facilities in Philadelphia; Virginia Beach, Va.; Portland, Ore.; and Los Angeles.

The 27,000-square-foot plant houses a comprehensive collection of cold finishing machines. BSS' capabilities include cold drawing, straightening, bar peeling, custom cutting of long bar lengths, centerless grinding, belt polishing, burnishing, stamping and chamfering full bars, as well as cut pieces and parts.

Focus on value-added
BSS has two bull block coil-to-coil drawing machines, one horizontal and one vertical wrapping. In addition, there is a draw bench for either coil-to-bar or bar-to-bar drawing reduction. The total capability range is 0.1875 inch through 32 millimeters in diameter. All custom sizes are manufactured imperial or metric.

Value-added services have become the hallmark of BSS in this service-intensive market. Products made by these processes are subsequently either left in coil form or cut-to-length to customer specifications from 3 feet long up to 50 feet long (0.9 meters to 15 meters). This process allows the making of custom lengths for customers who are supplying exact part multiples to the end user, saving crucial time and money. It is common for BSS to supply many sizes of steel to the down-hole oilfield supply chain in lengths greater than 27 feet (8.2 meters), and the company often shears bars while straightening them from coil down to 4 feet (1.2 meters).

BSS also supplies custom straightening of long-length bars, sizes 0.1875 inch to 3 inch (4.8 millimeter to 76 millimeters) diameter, for both coil and bar on any combination of its five straighteners. Continual checks are made to ensure the integrity and accuracy of bar straightness. The company also has a Hetran bar turner that is capable of surface peeling bars from 0.625 inch through 1.875 inch (15.9 millimeters through 48 millimeters) diameter. The company has also been successful in turning alloy, stainless and nickel-bearing material grades.

Custom services
Two of BSS' special facilities have alternative processes for customers requiring them. Roll forming, knurling and bar threading give BSS added capability as a unique cold finish and forming company. The company welcomes any inquiries regarding service on long bars, shafts and tubing. BSS also has a bar grinding and polishing area that is equipped with four Cincinnati centerless grinding machines for dimensional tolerance and surface polishing to specification. These machines can hold a tolerance of ?0.0005 inches on dimension and a surface finish down to 10 rms to 12 rms when the application requires it. Custom tables have been constructed with the ability to in and out feed bars greater than 25 feet (7.6 meters) long.

One specialized bay at BSS houses a new custom cutting bar processing line. This production line includes band saws with openings up to 16 inches (400 millimeters). BSS' bar shears and a new precision cutting cold saw designed for part length and slug cut custom tolerances provide an extra level of quality service for its machine-shop clients. It is the answer for jobs requiring short lead-time and high cut quality.

The Houston facility is a point of pride for the company. It looks nothing like it did in 2002, and every year in business brings new promising opportunities. Continued growth is expected as BSS gives support to other manufacturing and distribution firms that are bent on survival in a tough global market and economy. The company plans to continue to stand behind its mission statement and offer customers precision and efficiency in production, inspection packaging and shipping.MM

From the March 2006 issue of Modern Metals.

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