The business of heavy steel fabrication is not for the faint of heart. The size, speed and complexity of fabricated components continues their upward curve, as does the heat of foreign competition. But one heavy steel fabricator handles the heat: Metal Trades Inc.
Your Go-to Source for Heavy Steel Fabrication
MTI is a “go-to” source for build-to-print steel fabrications requiring skilled craftsmen and certified welders of all types of steel. Past projects have included both small and large industrial components (some more than one hundred tons), military vehicle components, and custom-built barges. Our modern fabrication facilities have 40’+ high ceilings and plenty of bridge crane capacity to enable modular construction of large assemblies indoors.
Our team has many years of demonstrated expertise in a wide range of steel fabrication applications, including:
Power Transformer Tanks
Pressure Tanks and Vessels
Manufacturing Fixtures for Commercial, Aerospace, and NAVSEA Industry
Turbine Exhaust Ducts
Armor Steel Components for Military Ballistic Vehicles
Let’s take a quick photographic tour of our heavy steel fabrication operations to give you an idea of MTI’s industry-leading capabilities. So, grab your hard hats and eye protection, and let’s go!
MTI’S PANEL LINE AND MODULAR CONSTRUCTION CAPABILITIES:
MTI’S BLAST BOOTH CAPABILITY:
MTI SPECIALIZES IN SUPPORTING OEMS IN THE POWER GENERATION SECTOR:
MTI SPECIALIZES IN BARGE AND COMMERCIAL MARINE CONSTRUCTION:
Experience Counts in Heavy Steel Fabrication!
That’s a brief tour and snapshot of Metal Trades’ heavy steel fabrication operations! Remember, the Metal Trades team has decades of combined experience in building complex heavy steel components. Many of our craftsmen, machinists, welders, and management staff had years of prior experience building nuclear submarine components or overhauling naval vessels. And all our welders are qualified to ABS, AWS D1.1, NAVSEA, and ASME Section 9 standards. We qualify welders onsite! Contact us to learn more about Metal Trades Heavy Steel Fabrication.
Above: With the EdgeBreaker 4000’s intuitive touch-screen interface, operators can make adjustments or perform automatic calibration of the tools in no time.
Fabricator uses grinding technology to make deburring process safer and more efficient
December 2021 – When the late Ted Corbin founded Metal Trades Inc. in 1962, he had one piece of welding equipment and a pickup truck. Since then, the family-owned company has grown exponentially. Metal Trades earned certification as a Master Ship Repair Contractor for the U.S. Army and has an Agreement for Boat Repair with the U.S. Navy. The company developed into a multi-skilled specialist in heavy custom steel fabrication for barge/commercial marine construction and ship repair.
The company’s complex is housed on almost 50 acres, and it operates its own deep-water access point off South Carolina’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Able to accommodate vessels up to 370 ft. long and 70 ft. wide, including massive crane barges, Metal Trades also supports the power generation market with parts that range from transformers and cooling units to oil tanks.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the last 59 years is the company’s relentless pursuit of quality. “No matter what product, they all have one thing in common,” says Virgil Taylor, processing manager for Metal Trades. “They are custom-made, and they are heavy. Standard solutions don’t stand a chance in the demanding industries we serve.”
Taylor, who has been with the company for 25 years, knows what he’s talking about. According to him, customers who rely on high-quality equipment have equally high expectations concerning product design and functionality.
Metal Trades has increased part consistency and throughput with the EdgeBreaker 4000.
“We do serve a niche market, but a demanding one, that continuously asks us to push our boundaries,” says Dustin Corbin, vice president of operations for Metal Trades. “This requires us to be flexible at all times.” That means scrutinizing the company’s internal processes for ways to improve.
In 2019, Metal Trades identified a need to fabricate and deburr steel more efficiently. The existing manual methods had become a major pain point.
“We employ well-versed welders and fitters who do a tremendous job,” says Taylor. “On top of that, once parts were oxyfuel or gas cut, the staff handled and manually deburred them. For smooth fabrication, we need to take the dross off our parts.”
The process proved to be problematic. Deburring with hand grinders kept the welders and fitters from performing their primary jobs and posed a safety risk. Metal Trades processes parts up to 2 in. thick and 40 in. wide. To mitigate the risk and reduce labor expenses, the company began looking for automated deburring support.
“We wanted to keep our welders and fitters on their jobs and proceed to fabrication without secondary handling,” Corbin explains. “After all, we aim to maintain high deburring quality for heavy parts at all times. Efficiency is our No. 1 driver.”
In 2019, a small team from Metal Trades traveled to Fabtech in Chicago. Equipment at the ARKU booth caught their attention. The company has been designing and building levelers, deburring machines and coil lines for many years. Corbin met ARKU Sales Manager Nathan Brown and they discussed the options for an automated deburring machine. After Brown demonstrated the machines’ capabilities, “it was obvious that the EdgeBreaker 4000 was a highly promising fit. I was particularly interested in the machine’s ability to deburr the top and bottom of a part in a single pass.”
In terms of process efficiency, “this was exactly what we were looking for,” adds Taylor. The EdgeBreaker 4000’s oscillating grinding drum removes burrs from plasma and oxyfuel cut parts up to 4 in. thick with repeatable results. Edge-rounding tools on the top and bottom foster double-sided edge rounding as well. This double-sided design can cut processing times by up to 50 percent compared to conventional single-side machines.
Metal Trades installed an ARKU EdgeBreaker 4000 and found the installation to be straightforward. “ARKU technicians managed the setup smoothly and helped us wherever they could,” Corbin says. “Given the facility’s layout, there was no optimal spot to place the machine, but ARKU worked with us to identify the best location for optimal operation.”
The most important aspect of the installation wasn’t space. “Training and knowing how to handle such a powerful tool are infinitely more relevant for quality,” says Taylor. “In addition to standard machine training, we make sure operators understand that thickness is crucial for smooth operations.”
Nick Cromer, Metal Trades steel processing lead, left, Daniel Freeman, Metal Trades steel processing specialist, Virgil Taylor, Metal Trades steel processing manager, and Nathan Brown, sales manager at ARKU Inc.
Above and Beyond
“In our industry, I encounter new challenges every day,” Taylor continues. “Sometimes, equipment is intended for certain processes but we take pride in using it above and beyond its specifications. I like coming to work without having to dread the repetitiveness of other industries.”
The EdgeBreaker 4000 is processing roughly 10,000 lbs. of heavy parts per month. “ARKU’s equipment is a real lifesaver,” says Corbin. “It takes the dross off neatly and has accepted all matching parts without major issues. For us, the improvements are mainly internal, since we’re saving rework and manual labor hours.”
The EdgeBreaker 4000 also helps to achieve good painting on the parts’ edges, which boosts corrosion resistance. One of its major benefits, though, is barely perceptible: it’s a virtually silent operation. According to Virgil, “the EdgeBreaker is one of the quietest machines I’ve ever run. Even at full capacity, except for a low humming, you can barely hear it. This is highly unusual in the industry and creates a quiet working atmosphere. Standing right next to the deburring machine, a customer once even asked me if it was running at all.” FFJ
The Metal Trades processing center is the critical first step of a journey that turns raw materials into high value-added products for our commercial and governmental customers. Today, we take an in-depth look at the Metal Trades Processing Center.
Metal Trades, Inc. is a Heavy Steel Fabricator, Government/Commercial Ship Repair, and New Vessel Construction Facility. As a build-to-print, job-shop-type manufacturer, it is easy to focus on our end-product without adequately highlighting all the critical aspects of production which contribute to the successful delivery of our products.
Turnkey Processing: Convenience and Accountability
Ours is a turnkey facility that offers onsite processing, machining services, indoor blast and paint facilities, a 650-foot marine railway with deep water access, and a 200-foot loading pier that offers dockage. We have extensive in-house heavy lift capabilities. Our unique, expansive facility and our expert staff help simplify complex logistics when customers need to build and move large fabrications over land or water.
The heart of our fabrication process, after estimating and award, starts in our AutoCAD Department and Processing center. Metal Trades has four Drafters on staff with extensive experience working with industry-known programs that support project detailing and nesting such as, but not limited to, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, ProNest, PrimecutNE, JT2Go, Navisworks, Romac, 3D Modelling software.
Superior Capacity and Capability
When raw material is received to our facility and formally processed through Shipping and Receiving, MTI offers over 25 acres of dedicated, secured, lay-down area to store customer product. We have the capability to bend, form, cut, shape, and machine raw plate. Metal Trades, Inc. has proven processes and quality procedures in place which we follow in accordance with customer specifications, regulatory agency requirements, and we boast a Quality Assurance Department that is ISO 9001:2015(E) compliant.
In our Processing Center, we utilize a Heavy Duty Plasma Cutting and Drilling Machine, Model K5000XMC. MTI purchased this machine under a successful application for MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant Program in 2018. This machine has a 10’ x 40’ effective cutting/processing area for both machining and burning. It offers plasma and oxy-fuel cutting, plasma and oxy-fuel beveling, plasma etching, and machining to include drilling, tapping, milling, interpolation, counterboring and part marking.
We also have two 260 Volt Titan Messer Plasma Burn tables. These two tables utilize a 10’ x 40’ effective cutting/processing area. Even though we are in with the new, we stand by our tried and true. These two Messer machines are workhorses, and both tables have plasma cutting and etching as well as each has ALFA oxyfuel torches capable of cutting up to 8”.
In addition to this equipment, we have a Marvel Touch Tech 60 Vertical Band Saw with a 50-foot rail system and a 25” H x 20” W vice opening at 0 degrees. This saw is capable of cutting a 60-degree miter. We over a Cosen horizontal band saw with a 20’ rail and a 10’H x 10” W vice opening. We offer a Geka 110A Iron Worker capable of punching, sheering, and notching angle, flat, square, or round bar. We have a Faccin Plate Roller with a 10’ plate capacity. We also offer a 750-ton CNC Press Brake with a 20 ft wide capacity. In our processing center, we have two 10- ton overhead cranes and our two-door openings are 20 ft wide x 30 ft tall.
Investing in New Technologies
Recently our staff was featured in Arku, Inc.’s InfoMAX publication highlighting a recent purchase of an EdgeBreaker 4000. This machine assists with breaking mill scale, removing sharp edges, and prepping material for fit-up. This equipment reduces the necessity for manual grinding and therefore, in turn, more efficiently distributes manpower. We use our EdgeBreaker 4000 primarily for our Power Generation Customers, which is also a core business area for Metal Trades. Due to the nature of the work we perform for our Power Generation Customers this equipment supports our systematic, high-volume production capacity for this specific product line.
Processing: MTI’s Firm Foundation
As we say, the processing center is where MTI lays the groundwork for successful projects time after time. From start to finish, MTI’s governmental and commercial clients are assured of superior processes and technology and unmatched customer service, backed by six decades of experience. To learn more, please contact Metal Trades today.
As we approach July 4th, a time to honor our pride in being American and a time to celebrate our independence, we cannot forget our roots. Metal Trades, Inc. was founded by Ted Corbin in 1962. He had a welding truck and a dream and the grit and determination of his children (5 sons and 2 daughters) who supported the growth of his vision.
Ted founded Metal Trades during the onset of the Vietnam War. He wanted to find a way to support our military. He took a government overhaul contract, and he made a promise to deliver. He was determined to honor his word and hired a crew of men he housed and fed around the clock to accomplish the work scope. In the end, Ted and his crew exceeded the terms of the contract, and from there, the foundation of Metal Trades was set.
Ted Corbin’s Original Welding Truck
From that foundation, Metal Trades, Inc. has grown into a state-of-the art facility that far surpasses what could have been imagined at the time of our humble beginning. It’s a facility that proudly honors Ted’s legacy and the Corbin name.
MTI: Adding Value in Government Contracts…
On this July 4th, 2021, Metal Trades, Inc. is a world-renowned Government Repair and New Build Facility. We have built over 150 barges for the US Navy. We have also overhauled over 130 Landing Craft Units and multiple other brown water boats. We support MARAD, USCG, DOT, US Army, and many other Federal, State, and local governments. Over the course of the last decade, as the government continues to place a strong emphasis on the importance of “Buy American” and sourcing materials through qualifying countries, Metal Trades is no stranger to the terms and conditions governing these regulations. As a United States manufacturer, we recognize the importance of domestic sourcing and creating jobs for our local and surrounding communities.
…and Commercial Contracts, too!
While we are well versed in the inner workings of government contracts, Metal Trades, Inc. continues to maintain a stronghold in the commercial industry, as well. Our modern facility offers a turnkey experience for our customers, including:
Indoor Blasting and Painting
Indoor Fabrication Facilities
650’ Marine Railway
200’ Loading and Off-loading Pier (which also provides dockage, and extensive heavy lift capabilities)
Metal Trades, Inc. works with multiple small businesses including women- and veteran-owned along with other 8a companies. MTI continues to invest and contribute to the prosperity of America in every way we can, whether it is through supporting our government, other small businesses, creating jobs, or sourcing our steel domestically. We are proud to be American and fortunate to continue the vision of our Founder by offering American-made products and services.
July 4th: Cause for Celebration!
Every year, Metal Trades hosts a July 4th picnic for our men and women to celebrate the holiday. We will be hosting this year’s luncheon on Thursday, July 1st. Since, we realize the South Carolina heat is sweltering at this time of year, we always work to do our best to provide our men and women time off during the July 4th holiday. This way our men and women – who work tirelessly to support our production – enjoy a long weekend to celebrate with their family and friends! Monday, July 5th is a paid holiday. We wish each of you a wonderful, safe and happy Fourth of July.
Metal Trades, Inc. (MTI) gave a preview of our Team Up to Clean Up efforts back in March of this year. That’s when a team of internal volunteers joined together for our Highway 165 clean-up day. Based on that success of that project…
“Metal Trades is committed to making community clean-up a regularly scheduled event. The Town of Meggett is planning the next event for Saturday, April 17th. We are planning to attend to show our support and commitment to keeping our community beautiful.”
On April 17, 2021, despite a misty rain, a Metal Trades team consisting of Rusty Corbin, Patsy Corbin, and Kristi Rowe joined forces with several Lowcountry Leadership Charter School students to become MTI’s “Team Up to Clean Up” crew. The Town also provided the students with community service hours for volunteering their time.
Of course, as everyone fanned out to fill their trash bags, a little friendly competition developed to see who could find the oddest item by the side of the road. Some interesting items found by our team members included extension cords, safety glasses, gloves, a trash can lid, medicine bottles, and a whole bunch of other bottles! Other volunteers found a snake in a jar and a circular saw which proves anything can be found on the side of the road!
Team Up to Clean Up: MTI Gives Back to the Community!
That concludes this most recent example of MTI giving back. There will definitely be more to come, as Metal Trades takes community service and involvement very seriously. So stay tuned!
Why a Community Clean-up Day? Metal Trades, Inc. (MTI) has been part of the Meggett community for almost 60 years. Like any good corporate citizen, the company continually looks for ways to give back to the place we call our home and to lead the way in making our town a better place to live, work, and play.
In that spirit, MTI employees completed another successful community clean-up day on Friday, March 5th, 2021. Team members scoured ditches, shoulders, and the roadside from Ethel Post Office Road to the end of Highway 165 at Metal Trades.
Highway 165: Target-rich Environment for Community Clean-up!
Highway 165 is the main road that travels between the town of Meggett and the Metal Trades facility. There is high traffic volume, some speed issues, and the occasional bit of littering. As a candidate for a community clean-up, HWY 165 is a target that makes sense, and one that provides bang for the buck. What’s more, it provides evidence of what we always knew – but perhaps the community did not – that MTI truly cares about the local land and water that provide us our livelihood.
Environmental Avengers, Assemble!
And so, on that clear, cool Friday morning a team of smiling MTI faces assembled, including Camy Swanson from Accounts Payable and Receivable, Safety Director Patti Corbin, Director of Contracts Megan Dean, Controller Daniel Reed, Human Resources Director Kristi Rowe, and Estimator Greg Crites.
Armed with positive attitudes and upbeat tunes, our band set about their task, dancing down the highway and filling their trash bags for the entire morning. Together, our team picked up an impressive amount of trash (10 bags!) along Highway 165. All agreed it was an extremely rewarding and productive session.
Environmental Leadership by Example
With our longstanding presence in the community, MTI has a duty to lead by example. We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship. We will continue to positively impact our community. And together with the Town and its people, MTI will continue to do its part to keep Meggett clean. If you have questions or suggestions to help us achieve our goal of environmental leadership, please contact MTI today!
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MTI is committed to making this a regularly scheduled event. The Town of Meggett is planning the next community clean-up on Sat April 17th. We are planning to attend to show our support and commitment to keeping our community beautiful.
Metal Trades, Inc. closed out the month of January 2021 with two major IDIQ/MATO awards from the US Army Watercraft Sustainment Maintenance (AWSM) Program, which is managed by the US Army Contracting Command- Detroit Arsenal (ACC-DTA). The shorthand, straight-to-the-point details announced that:
MTI was awarded two of the three zones that were competed to Industry to include:
Zone 1 (CONUS Support) for a ceiling value potential of $255 million over the next 5 years, and
Zone 3 (OCONUS Support) for a ceiling value potential of $155 million over the next 5 years.
It’s great news for the entire MTI family but to fully appreciate the importance of these awards – and how we earned them – it’s helpful to ponder MTI’s capabilities, spirit of innovation, and decades of service to the Army as well as the value we bring to each project.
Maintaining the Army’s Brown-water Navy
Fun fact: the US Army fields more boats than does the US Navy. Known as “brown water” boats, they ply shallow waters such as rivers and coastal channels. Many of the boats in the brown water fleet were designed and built for a 40 year lifespan and a good number of them are approaching or have passed that milestone.
How does a boat remain relevant and effective throughout a 40-decade lifespan and beyond? Superior design plays a part, but expert maintenance is critical. Every three years, these boats must return to a shipyard for regular on-condition cycle maintenance, or OCCM.
MTI: Comprehensive Marine Maintenance
Metal Trades, Inc. is one of the Army’s most trusted OCCM providers, and has been for over 25 years. We have dedicated an entire business division to maintaining and overhauling government boats. MTI is an incumbent on the contract to service certain boats such as the LCU (Landing Craft Utility.) In fact, we lead the field in number of LCUs overhauled at 120 and counting.
OCCM is comprehensive, top-to-bottom service. When boats come in for refit, MTI pulls it into our railway/dry dock. We overhaul the engine. We pull the drive shaft. We replace propellers. We check all electrical systems. We repair and paint the hull.
These are only some of the routine steps in our overhaul process. But it’s the non-routine aspects of OCCM where MTI truly adds the kind of value that keeps the Army coming back.
Capability, Craftsmanship, and Continuous Improvement
First, as we reported in our last edition, MTI’s railway and machine shop are large, capable, and continuously improving. Metal Trades is a turnkey facility, able to anticipate and meet customer requirements from the everyday to the extraordinary. Ours is also a team that does it right the first time, so quality warranty claims are truly rare.
Second, knowledge and experience. Our team includes craftsmen with decades of experience in marine electrical and machining, whose knowledge is sought after throughout their fields. Their intimate familiarity with these boats and their components has led to some impressive maintenance feats.
Innovation through Reverse Engineering
Technology, mission requirements, and threats evolve. 40-year-old components become obsolete, spare parts impossible to find. Not a problem for MTI; our team can easily reverse engineer and fabricate the part required for the system to perform its task as designed. Moreover, our familiarity with the system allows us to question whether the 1980 way of doing things is still the best way. If not, we innovate. In fact, some of our retrofit solutions have become the new standard for these systems, making MTI an official OEM provider.
For these reasons, Army designs and equipment scheduled for retirement are being tasked to keep sailing, because MTI craftsmen and innovations make it possible to do so!
Supporting the Mission, Protecting the Warfighter
MTI is proud to win these IDIQ/MATO awards, as we have won them in years past. But we are not complacent. These are awards we covet and compete for because they help us stay in business and keep craftsmen employed. They allow us to keep doing a job we love. And they enable MTI to fulfill our primary mission: delivering reliable, superior functioning boats to help our warfighters do their jobs and come home safely.
Metal Trades, Inc. (MTI) is a family owned business located just south of Charleston, South Carolina operating with deep water access on the intracoastal waterway. We have been in business since 1962 and have extensive past performance in Heavy Steel Fabrication, Manufacturing, Machining, Vessel Construction and Vessel Maintenance and Repair for both commercial and Government customers.
” J.E. Corbin, Jr. founded Metal Trades, Inc. in 1962 with a pickup truck, a welding machine, and years of metal fabricating experience. Since that time MTI established a solid reputation for its multi-skilled work force and strong commitment to high quality.”