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Rector Machine Works bulks up

March 1, 2012
by Norm Tollinsky
In: News with 0 Comments

Rector Machine Works, a full-service machining and fabrication shop in Sault Ste. Marie, has announced plans to acquire an 18 x 38-foot Hypotherm burning table and two Mazak CNC machines.The acquisitions are part of a $1.5 million expansion that includes the addition of 5,000 square feet of shop space.“We were ready to do the expansion in 2008, but put the brakes on it when the bottom fell out of the market,” said Dave Rector, the company’s sales force team leader. “We came out of the recession in a lot better shape than a lot of other companies and retained all of our employees, so we’re in a much better position to do it now.”Rector Machine Works’ customer base has mirrored the fortunes of Northern Ontario’s resource and manufacturing industries since its inception in the 1930s, but is now focused on the mining industry.

“In each downturn, we had to reinvent ourselves,” said Rector. “We went from mining to steel to the wood industry, and now we’ve come full circle.”

The most recent reinvention of the company began seven years ago when the wood market went downhill.

“It was at that point that we decided to develop a marketing plan to diversify our business,” recalled Rector. “We never had one before that.”

Nor had the company been proactive in sales.

The company does work for Goldcorp’s fly-in Musselwhite Mine, 480 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Barrick’s Williams Mine in the Hemlo camp, Richmont Mines’ Island Gold Mine, 83 kilometres northeast of Wawa and Wesdome Gold Mines’ Eagle River Mine, 50 kilometres west of Wawa.

Rector also scouts out opportunities for subcontracts from Sudbury-area machining and fabrication shops.

“I’ve been thrown out of 75 per cent of the shops I called on, but once you make it clear that you’re not there to steal work from them, they’re more receptive,” he remarked. “We send some work to them that we can’t do and they send work to us, so it’s a mutual, agreeable relationship.”

Rector’s service offering includes millwrighting, welding and fabrication, driveline manufacturing and reconditioning, hydraulic cylinder manufacturing and repair, and onsite align boring.

Breaking into the mining industry took time, but the tide turned as Rector found himself pitching mine personnel who had transitioned from similar roles in the forestry sector and were aware of the company’s reputation.

“A lot of the forestry people have found their way into the mining industry, so it’s really worked well for us,” said Rector. “Contacts we had from the Tembecs and Weyerhaeusers of the world have gone on to Goldcorp and Barrick, so our long-standing relationship with them has transferred to success in the mining industry.”

The new 18 x 38-foot Hypotherm profile cutting table will allow the company to do more work in-house, while the new CNCs will be used for smaller pieces and higher runs, freeing up Rector’s current three-metre CNC lathe and milling centre for other jobs.

The new machines are scheduled for delivery in April and the entire expansion slated for completion in June or July.


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