How We Evolved to Meet a Customer’s Evolving Alloy Melting Needs

The easiest way to describe what we do at Sophisticated Alloys is to say that we solve problems. Sometimes one problem solved just leads to the next challenge.  That’s exactly what happened when we became involved with a customer who recycles raw materials.

This customer had so much scrap metal that he needed a bulldozer to move it. That’s not surprising when you learn that this company’s business is reselling alloys. They would sort this high-grade scrap by composition and characterize it by alloy. Then, they would have to certify the alloys before they could move them off the floor.

At first, they handled everything internally, but then their vacuum melting system became unreliable.  This is when we became involved.  They needed quick turnaround on the characterization or they would quickly run out of storage space.

The customer would send us a sample of the material overnight. We would melt it, send a sample out for overnight analysis and have the melted ingot back to the customer the next morning.  Provided that the analysis met their customer’s spec, our quick melts enabled them to move the alloys out of their warehouse in a timely manner.

We did this quick-turnaround melting for them for better than a year.  Then, their business expanded from nickel-based super alloys to include titanium products.  We don’t melt titanium alloys, but we knew exactly what they needed to take the next step in their business. At that point, they decided they wanted their own vacuum melting system. Having worked with us a while, they trusted us enough to design and build a vacuum melting system that would enable them to do this different type of vacuum melting.

While I enjoy doing all types of problem solving for customers, we are really not in the business of manufacturing equipment. I realized, however, that our company was the right choice to build this equipment for them for two important reasons.

First, we had the basic equipment they needed.  We could just make modifications to meet their needs. There was no wondering if the melting system would work. Second, we were able to continue to do their vacuum melting while we built the new system. Doing it this way meant that our customer experienced absolutely no downtime.

It may seem that we were so helpful that we helped ourselves out of a dependable job, but that really wasn’t the case.  Our customer’s business was evolving, and we needed to evolve with them or be left behind.  While we no longer do the same type of work for this customer, we developed a mutual trust and we continue to do business with them.

This customer’s experience is an excellent example of how we are able to evolve with our customers and deepen our business relationships.

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