Special Focus

What began 120 years ago as a company that manufactured seat cushions for horse-drawn carriages remains a family owned and operated business that is among the largest specialty seating manufacturers in the United States. The horse-drawn carriage is no longer Freedman Seating Company’s customer base, of course. Instead, the company is a leading supplier to the U.S. domestic bus and transportation industry, making bus, rail, truck, specialty and commercial vehicle seating.

Creaform Inc.’s strategy is just as precise as the tools it builds. In the world of high-accuracy metrology, Creaform can credit its fast-growth to introducing products that were different, but more importantly, better than the technology that was available in 2005. That is when it began manufacturing high-accuracy 3-D optical and portable measurement technologies.

Lance, a manufacturer of sandwich crackers, potato chips and cookies, has a history that dates back to 1913. Just a few years before that in 1909, the origins of Snyder’s of Hanover got under way, establishing a foundation for a company that now produces pretzels and a diverse line of snacks for domestic and international markets. Now, working together as one company, Snyder’s-Lance is using its expertise and strengths in the snack market to compete more effectively and add value to the combined operation.

In the world of machine tubing, Morton Industries appears to have found quite a successful niche.

Starting out in 1946 as a welding operation, Morton gained a reputation for fabricating farm implements, platforms and ladder assemblies. Finding its success in machined, tubular and assembled product manufacturing, Morton Industries has emerged to become one of the top tube benders in the United States. The firm currently ships more than 4,000 different part numbers per month. The firm also recently ac­quired Bradley Services, Inc., which produces similar products.

Tucked away in Stafford, Texas, just south and west of Houston, is a small manufacturing and technology company that has spent the last 35 years providing state-of-the-art connection gear and high-tech solutions for the subsea oil and gas industry. National Coupling Co. (NCC) has three main product lines: metal seal hydraulic couplings, hydraulic valves and chemical injection systems. These products are used in various areas of subsea oil and gas development throughout the world.

Electroimpact Inc.’s engineers do more than draft concept drawings – they guide every aspect of the products they work on. “What sets us apart is being the ulti­mate engineers’ company,” says Ben Hempstead, a mechanical engineering lead. “Of our 431 employees, 352 are engineers. Their responsibility is from concept design through calculation, analysis, simulation, draft­ing, purchasing, assembly, de­bug, testing, shipping, installation, final acceptance and factory support.”

The approximately 40 subsidiary businesses of Chemetall GmbH em­erged from the combination of expertise in chemistry and metallurgy, which is mirrored in the company’s name. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, the specialty chemicals group is the global leader in products and processes for the chemical treatment of metal surfaces and plastics. Its surface treatment solutions benefit a variety of markets, such as aerospace, automotive, coil, cold forming, aluminum finishing, oil and gas, and several niche industries.

For Precision Gear Inc. (PGI), failure is not an option. The College Point, N.Y.-based company specializes in manufacturing parts for the aircraft and jet engine industry, including ex­ternal and internal spur, helical, cluster gears, elongated shafts, splined shafts, high-speed shafts, free wheel cams shafts and hydraulic assemblies. 

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