Mavrix Welding Automation has a history of producing welding machinery that spans more than 60 years and a variety of industries.
As a small, family-owned OEM welding automation machine manufacturer, Mavrix Welding Automation doesn’t turn away potential business just because it doesn’t immediately fit into its core capabilities. According to Glen Senger, owner and president of Mavrix Welding Automation, his company is known for developing customized solutions for clients incorporating Mavrix’s proven technology, then developing what is necessary to meet the customer’s application.
“I think what sets us apart is that we don’t just sell a standard line of machines when it comes to our large platform welding automation,” Senger says. “Even in our portable line, we will always do the necessary layout work to ensure an exact fit with the machines we interface with and customize it.
“If someone calls and says, ‘Can you build this?’ we listen and consider it,” Senger adds. “Starting with our standard building blocks we look for ways to integrate these into the required new content. In the end if the project meets the customer requirements and is competitively priced, we will quote the job.”
Mavrix Welding Automation traces its roots back to Automatic Welding in the 1950s, McKay Automatic Welding in the 1960s and Teledyne McKay in the 1970s. Teledyne McKay designed and manufactured special machines for weld buildup and hard-facing of products like earthmovers, undercarriage equipment and steel mill rolls.
Mavrix was launched in 1986 when the assets of the automatic welding division of Teledyne McKay were purchased. The primary product focus at that time was on portable, hard surfacing and metal buildup applications as well as custom machines for weld fabrication. This includes sub-arc welding of rail tank car internal girths with precision-level control and some metal spraying systems.
In May 2009, Senger purchased the company as the founder Richard Haak headed into retirement. Before buying Mavrix, Senger spent 20 years in manufacturing and product development with Briggs & Stratton, Harley-Davidson and Giddings & Lewis. It was with Briggs & Stratton where Senger found his passion for automation as a manufacturing engineer developing automation for small engine assembly.
“As the owner of the McKay Automatic Welding intellectual property, our history takes us back to 1952 when the first serial number machine was sold,” Senger says. “Now 62 years and some 11,600 machines later, we are still manufacturing equipment for hard-facing and buildup applications. In fact, we still service some equipment that was made in the 1970s by McKay and remains in production today.”
Mavrix recently introduced its servo-controlled torch oscillation system, which was integrated into the company’s first line of programmable logic controller (PLC)-based machines. The PLC-based machine, Senger says, provides the process control and repeatability companies need to ensure a certified process in many cases.
“A part number-based recipe ensures consistent product part-to-part and an easy-to-use PLC/HMI [human machine interface]-based platform has proven to require a short operator learning curve and a highly configurable platform to be used on a large variety of welding automation,” Senger says.
Customer demand for a more intelligent welding system with predictable operation and part configuration memory pushed Mavrix toward developing this type of product.
Last year, Mavrix was contacted by a customer for whom it had built machines the previous four years. Senger says the client was pleased with the reliability of the previous equipment, however, they needed greater process controls this time around. The PLC-based machine was the solution and Mavrix was happy to work with the client in the development of the new control platform.
“As a small OEM, we took on the opportunity and leveraged our relationships with suppliers to identify additional resources whom could help us meet this challenge,” Senger says. “The fact is, we knew we could build machines that weld and had wanted to develop the PLC for some time.”
To bring the PLC to market, Mavrix developed the project scope in partnership with the customer. This new machine design would blend the company’s proven technology with a new control unlike anything else in the industry.
“This required a significant level of integration from both the hardware and software sides to be added with our standard components,” Senger says.
Ensuring cost goals met at the end of a product’s development starts with the quality of the estimating process during the quoting phase, according to Senger. To make this project viable for the client, Mavrix was determined to have a good, defined scope that would help avoid surprise costs along the way.
“The project highlight was the fact that we were making a significant investment in the new control without passing along the development cost to the customer,” Senger says. “We saw it as being given the opportunity and the customer trusting our ability to deliver.”
As manufacturers continue to struggle to attract qualified manpower for welding jobs, they will continue to demand machines with PLC controls. Senger says Mavrix Welding Automation intends to grow alongside this demand by continuing to develop products with the PLC control and expanded features. Mavrix also will continue to support and manufacture portable equipment using its circuit board base control technology.
“Highly skilled welding labor is sometimes difficult for our customers to find, and for the most part people are using employees with little actual welding background to run the automation,” Senger says. “Our development of the PLC line of equipment allows our customers to store and save recipes by the product part number. I see our company continuing on development of new products and growth into markets that we aren’t working in today.”
Mavrix is fortunate to have long-term, dedicated employees with well over 25 years in this industry. Approximately 75 percent of what the company builds year over year has some level of new content. Mavrix’s development is why it is a leader in custom hard-facing automation.