Making Technology Hum
Dalsin Industries, Inc.
Precision metal fabricator Dalsin Industries, Inc. knows its field well after nearly eighty years in the metal industry. Primarily serving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across North America with value and durability, the company is especially known for the size of its fabrication runs and expert design capabilities that leave many of its competitors in the dust. As a result, it often works with the renewable energy, transportation, heating, ventilating, and cooling industry (HVAC), the doors and enclosures sector, and elevator markets.
Through determination and attention to detail, the firm has earned itself a reputation for making clients’ components and concepts more suitable for manufacture while improving quality and useful life to such a level that it ultimately functions as an off-site division of clients’ operations. Dalsin is particularly proud of its longstanding partnerships with clients and suppliers.
Despite recent global challenges, Dalsin is expanding. To solve supply chain issues that still arise for its clients across the continent due to post-COVID-19 concerns and current supply chain constraints, the company is opening a second facility.
“We come with a high level of quality and engineering expertise, so we can certainly help OEMs with solutions, especially when their partners supply products closer to their facilities,” says Chief Executive Officer Tom Schmeling.
This new facility measures 42,000 square feet and is based in Lakeville, Minnesota, just under twenty miles from the Bloomington headquarters. “Inside this facility will be a highly automated material handling, punching, and bending system produced by Salvagnini,” says Vice President of Production Operations, Bob Borgerding. “We are planning on running the facility with very few employees. [Our team is] familiar with this type of equipment as we have been running Salvagnini equipment since 1995,” he adds, stressing that these two fully automated lines will allow the firm to handle even more precision work.
As the firm takes pride in running its facilities to the highest standards, this one will impress just like the Bloomington manufacturing facility, which spreads across 135,000 square feet. It houses another extensively automated sheet metal fabrication facility that handles materials, laser cutting, punching, and more. Its welding division is also highly automated. In addition, it has a next-generation testing department, plus an in-house powder coating facility and a design-for-manufacturing department.
Technology and automation are integral to Dalsin’s work, and it takes care to keep up with the latest developments on this front. “We work very hard to integrate technology and stay on the leading edge of technology and automation. The most exciting thing we are currently integrating is the Salvagnini S4, P4 lines and the materials handling automation that is associated with it,” says Schmeling.
Because Dalsin Industries, Inc. is all about service and commitment to quality, its leadership knows that its people’s intricate knowledge of the company’s machinery and technological capabilities gives it a significant advantage. The company works differently than others that use “the same technology because of our deep understanding and long history with the technology. Technology by itself is one thing. Having a team that knows how to use it very well is [our] differentiator. [Our people] know how to make it hum,” says Vice President of Technical Operations Keith Diekmann. In this way, the company creates custom work and components that put it in a class of its own.
Mitigating its impact on the environment as far as possible is another aspect of the business that Dalsin takes seriously. To this end, it patented IntelliBurn Technology™ in its Memphis Grills division’s wood-burning barbecue grills. The technology combines primary and secondary combustion systems which means fuel savings and lower pollution thanks to a cleaner burn. In addition, variable speed fans make for more efficient temperature control.
“We can control the temperature of the inside of the grill tighter than we can control the ovens inside of our homes,” says Diekmann, who is also the patent owner.
Effectively training staff is crucial in being able to create specialty components. Intimate knowledge of the materials and tools is the first step to achieving superior work, and, as the dividends far exceed the original investment, it is worth the time and effort that the company plows into its people, making continual development a part of its legacy.
Dalsin Industries, Inc. started in 1945 as a family-owned architectural and sheet metal fabricator, growing its capabilities to answer its customers’ needs. Boosting its size and geographic reach naturally followed. Even though it has grown significantly, the company retains its family values and entrepreneurial approach to everything it does. It is constantly adapting to the market and its clients as time passes, to be as agile and responsive as ever.
When a customer initially approaches the company with a project, a dynamic team of professionals from every relevant department is appointed. The customer request is then studied, and production is discussed and mapped.
A project leader keeps everything running in line with the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) guidelines during the entire project, ensuring that all stakeholders are well informed and kept up to speed with developments. Some of the official standards in which the company is certified include ISO9001:2015 and ISO14001:2015. It is also registered with the American Welding Society, among several other certifications – for which it is regularly audited, ensuring that its products remain safe to use by clients and end-users.
COVID-19 affected the company’s operations to a limited degree. “We had a small downturn at the very start of the pandemic; however, we bounced right back out of that. As durable goods sales were very high during that period, we [could] meet [many] our customers’ needs through a robust supply chain,” says Diekmann.
Assigning bill allocations was one way in which the team could predict demand to remain sufficiently stocked. While some international materials shipments remain a challenge, Dalsin is marching on, providing the fantastic service on which it has built its name.
Of course, Dalsin would be nowhere without its 160 industry experts, and the company could not be more aware of that. “We can have all this equipment and put it in the building but without the right kind of engaged people [using] it and understanding how to [use] it, it is just equipment sitting there,” says Schmeling. It hires creative professionals who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, where customer relations and collaboration rule supreme.
A recent visit from Women in Manufacturing to its facility confirmed the team’s efficiency. The visitors noticed people’s drive and energy “at every level of the company,” Schmeling says. The representatives were impressed and spoke “about how and why we accomplish that.”
Everybody’s ideas and input are valued, and teamwork and respect are vital. Profit-sharing means that every employee has a stake in the firm’s prosperity and is motivated to work toward the most sustainable and lucrative outcomes.
With exceptional organic growth driving continued expansion, Dalsin Industries, Inc. will continue to do what it takes to meet its clients’ needs and market demands. Following this, environmental sustainability remains an important goal. From growing investment in clean energies – like the 1.3-megawatt solar panel array that supplies more than forty percent of its electricity – and a subscription to a local community solar garden to working toward the same zero-waste certification it achieved in previous production locations, Dalsin Industries, Inc. is open-minded about its opportunity for continued meaningful sustainability programs.