This article appeared in the March 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
In the world of metal fabrication, Jedco occupies a unique place as an innovator. Considered one of the foremost problem solvers in the metalworking field, they are known as the place to go when customers have a challenging project.
“With the high expectations of our customers, innovation is critical,” says President Chris Sorenson. “Our customers give us the hard work that most other metal fabricators would typically not consider.”
Being in a competitive field that revolves around a few major players, Jedco is always looking toward the horizon for the next breakthrough.
As a state-of-the-art supplier of highly engineered sheet metal fabrications, they’ve developed a groundbreaking process for aerospace that will make jet components lighter and tougher. Labeled as JED-CAP, with “CAP” standing for chemical-milling alternative process, Szymanski compared this process to stretching a piece of silly putty over the newspaper and copying the image.
“Now imagine that silly putty is titanium and the image is distorted when copied,” says Dan Szymanski, who is Chairman of the Board and started at the company in 1982. “When we stretch (super plastic form) the titanium from flat to 3-D shaped, everything moves into position making a ready-to-use, formed part.”
This new process will improve the accuracy and toughness while minimizing weight for super-precise metal components.
Secret to Success
Jedco has been in business for nearly 50 years starting with six employees and making simple metal components for furniture. Around the time Szymanski started, the company pivoted their focus to the aerospace and defense industries.
“Today, there is nothing left of the original Jedco except for the address,” Szymanski says.
Rolling out the JED-CAP process to more of its clients is a next step for the company but they are also highly focused on growing their own talent base. Given the highly technical and precise nature of the work, bringing in the right talent and having effective training programs are some of Sorenson’s top priorities as president.
“That’s a big push for us (to bring in new talent),” he says. “We have employees who have worked here a long time, and many of them will be looking at retirement in five to 10 years. The next group we bring in will need to be as talented, but they also need to know how to use a robot and newer processes.”
Whether the innovation is focused on a process, equipment and technology, or training and talent acquisition, Jedco is intent on remaining on the cutting edge.
“As the innovation and technology and equipment all grow, we also need newer employees coming in who have a good handle on that technology.”
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