MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP — Thursday marked a special day for a local manufacturer of high-alloy weld consumables, as Arcos Industries LLC officially celebrated its 100th anniversary and more than 60 years at its present location in Mount Carmel Township.
The company does business with a number of global suppliers and manufacturers located in 20 countries, including China, Sweden, France and Switzerland.
Arcos General Manager Harry Wehr, who also serves as chairman of the American Welding Society’s Committee on Filler Metals and Allied Materials, was flanked by a number of his employees and guests, as he spoke of the historic milestone during a brief ceremony inside the company’s main office building on Thursday afternoon.
The event was attended by state lawmakers, Rep. Kurt Masser and Sen. John Gordner, both of whom offered remarks and presented citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representative and Senate, respectively. Gordner was accompanied by his secretary, Pam Earley.
Wehr offered a few brief comments to all those in attendance, which preceded a cutting of a 100th anniversary cake and subsequent tour of the facility.
“I believe that the four keys to our success and longevity here at Arcos have been good management, a vision to the future, manufacturing of high-quality competitive products and a trained, committed workforce,” he said.
Speaking of his employees, Wehr was quick to point out the importance of their knowledge, job skills and work ethic toward the company’s success.
“At Arcos, we currently employ 90 excellent salaried and union personnel (United Steel Workers Union 14372-04) working together to manufacture a superior end product to the global welding industry,” said Wehr. “The products we make here at Arcos require skilled labor and a knowledgeable, dedicated workforce, which is what we have. Without our employees, we’re nothing.”
Wehr also expressed pride in the fact that one of Arcos primary customers is the U.S. Navy shipbuilding program.
“I am proud to say that there’s not a single submarine, aircraft carrier or destroyer that doesn’t have Arcos weld materials used during its construction. We are a highly valued supplier to our national defense industry,” he said.
With regard to productivity, Wehr noted that Arcos sales have grown nearly 300 percent in the last 10 years, and indicated that the company plans to expand its facility and increase its workforce in the years to come.
“We congratulate Arcos and are excited to hear that you’re looking to expand. We want you to know that the Senator and I are here for you to help in any way we can,” said Masser.
Gordner jokingly remarked, “Normally, getting two citations in one day is not a good thing, but in this case I believe we’ll make an exception.”
He then added, “It’s incredible that we have a key global company right here in our own backyard. It shows there are a lot of good things going on in our area with more opportunities to come.”
Three Arcos employees provided a brief tour of the company’s manufacturing facilities. Production manager Tom Kane, engineering manager Mike Sosnoski and Walter Quade led Masser, Gordner and Earley through a guided tour of the various areas of the Arcos plant.
“Our current facilities are located on an 11-acre property, which includes 110,000 square feet for manufacturing and 25,000 square feet of office space,” remarked Kane. “The property was formerly owned by PPL and acquired from them when Arcos moved here,” said Kane.
Sosnoski also emphasized that because Arcos produces a large variety of high-quality products, each area of the plant requires specialized sets of skilled labor and knowledge in order to operate safely and efficiently.
“We take in raw materials made up of various metal compositions. The ultimate goal is to process each material differently in order to meet customer demands,” said Sosnoski.
Kane added, “We work with approximately 100 different alloys or grades of wire. Our customers utilize our products in a variety of welding applications.”
In a process referred to as “annealing,” wire is heated up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in order to make it more flexible. Arcos has two large active ovens, which are used to reshape the metal using heat. The company plans on bringing a third online in the near future.
At one point, Kane introduced the tour group to one of the company’s newest machines, a large, red 12-hole draw bench. He explained that the “big red” machine is used to perform cold work on metals, such as changing their shape using pressure only.
Ron Latsha, who has been employed by Arcos for nearly 44 years, expressed his appreciation toward his employer.
“I like working here,” said Latsha. “The job in my area of the plant consists of drawing wires.”
Dave Pappas, another longtime employee who works as a wire spooler and has been employed at Arcos for the past 24 years, also spoke highly of the company.
“I work a spooling machine that’s known as a ‘gMax 1.’ Arcos is a great place to work with good pay and employee benefits. They treat us well here,” he said.
Certfications and growth
Throughout its history, Arcos has earned the following prestigious certifications: ASME Nuclear Certification; ISO 9001; Mil-I Inspection Certificate; and Navy QPL Certification.
Arcos is an approved supplier of filler metal for the U.S. Navy nuclear program, American Bureau of Shipping, Canadian Welding Industry, Nuclear Procurement Committee and many others. These quality approvals place the company in an elite group of suppliers worldwide.
In addition to the U.S. Navy, other customers include the automotive industry, petroleum and chemical plants and off-shore marine industry.
Arcos has consumers in North America, the Middle East, Far East, Southeast Asia and Europe, and contributes more than $4 million annually to the local economy.