It is hard to find a steel fabricator in North America today where the company's history did not start with the founder having already an experienced foot in the industry.
In this respect and much more, Lainco Inc.(Terrebonne, Quebec) is different from the norm. Martin Lachapelle started the company in 1995 while studying accounting at the university. In a tiny 1,000 square foot facility located in Blainville, Quebec, Martin, along with two other employees, began fabricating miscellaneous steel.
Two years later, his brother Eric Lachapelle, M.Eng., joined the company adding his civil engineering background to Lainco's technical ability.
By 1999 the Lachapelle brothers had outgrown this facility and moved with 10 employees to a 7,000 square foot plant they built on the present site in Terrebonne, Quebec. Over the following years, this facility grew in multiple steps to its current size of 40,000 square feet. Today, Lainco is a leading steel fabricator with its own in-house engineering and drafting departments specializing in fast-track design and build projects for the industrial, institutional/governmental and commercial sectors in Quebec, Ontario, and the Northern Territories.
Having done extensive research in the drill/saw machinery market, Martin found that there were those suppliers who offered an automated solution to one degree or another but ultimately, they lacked the integrated "lights out" technology he was after.
"At the end of the day FICEP was the only firm who had the required technology and who could show me actual installations that were able to run lights out or unattended as I required.
Prior to the implementation of the FICEP 1001 DFB single rotating spindle drill/saw line, Lainco was able to process an average of 80 tons per week using conventional manual methods with 27 shop employees. I am now able to fabricate on a routine basis between 200-250 tons per week with the same number of shop employees by using the line not just for drilling and sawing but also for scribing layout locations on all four sides."
Martin reports that as a result of FICEP's automated scribing, Lainco is now able to substantially reduce the fit up time, eliminate mistakes and drastically reduce the amount of time the material is located in the fit up bay.
"Basically, we have captured the previously unused potential of our workforce. We have finally reached maximum efficiency."
During normal working hours his system attendant is continuously unloading/loading trucks, loading stock length material into the magazine loading system while the FICEP 1001 DFB transfers stock length material onto the infeed conveyor, measures and confirms the material stock length, loads the proper CNC program, performs all the drilling, scribing, sawing functions, removes trim cuts, remnants and finished lengths without any operator involvement.
"Before we leave at the end of a work day, we make sure our stock length magazine is fully loaded, turn out the lights and let the FICEP perform its magic. In the morning when we return, the stock lengths that were on the loading table when we left have been turned into cut to length sections complete with holes and full four side scribing ready for my fitters.
Because our productivity and volume capacity has tripled, we are able to take on bigger, heavier and more complex projects. This has tremendously impacted the growth of our company."
Lainco has since hired more engineers, draftsmen, sales and project management staff to take on the size and volume of projects the shop is now capable of producing. A night shift has been added and a weekend shift to maximize the full utilization of their facility is in consideration.