DK Custom Welding and Design houses metal fabricating equipment and paint finishing operations.Click image to enlarge

by Kip Hanson

No job too big or too small for Ontario welding shop

Job Shops In Canada | Ontario

Shop Vitals

Years in Business: 7

Size: 1,579 m (17,000 sq ft)

Part Capacity: 1524 mm x 3048 mm (60 in. x 120 in.) 4500 w laser cutting, with press brake and shear capability to 3 m (10 ft)

Key Processes: laser cutting, forming, welding and machining

Key Equipment: Mitsubishi laser cutting machines, Wysong press brake, lathes, mills, ironworkers

When Dave Krabbe, president of DK Custom Welding and Design Inc., Elora, ON, is unhappy with something, he fixes it. A welder for most of his life, he started a small rustproofing firm in 2005 while still working full-time at a local fab shop. Krabbe says he didn’t like the service he was getting, so decided to do it himself. That business quickly expanded as Krabbe hired a few friends and neighbours, tripling the first year and doubling the year after that. In 2008, unhappy with the choice of truck bumpers available for his pickup truck, Krabbe designed his own and started making them on the side in the back of his father’s barn. Again, his business grew, and Krabbe was soon building a variety of custom truck components. That’s just how he rolls.

The stakes went up last year, after Krabbe heard news of a nearby shop, Wellington Manufacturing, which was planning to shut down its production activities. “They’d been laser cutting bumper parts for us over the past few years at that time,” he says. “Then one day the owner called to say he was retiring, and was selling off some of his equipment. So I asked him about buying the entire business. He gave me a couple of days to put an offer together.”

Krabbe pulled out all the stops, and later that week, was the proud owner of an established job shop, complete with a pair of Mitsubishi ML3015LVP-plus CNC laser machines, a 3 m (10 ft) Wysong press brake, and a handful of assorted lathes, mills, and ironworkers. For the first time in the history of the company, Krabbe had most of the equipment he needed under one roof. Unfortunately, news had spread by then of the looming shutdown, and some of Wellington’s customers had already moved on to other sources. Still, there was enough work to keep the doors open. Krabbe took stock of the situation, and quickly added to the shop’s existing capabilities by installing a restoration shop complete with paint booth, several hoists, and a hydraulic shear.

A leap of faith
Today, DK Custom Welding has 10 employees. Growth has been steady, and the company has recently been doing some tier two work for Hydro One and Bell Canada. Krabbe anticipates regaining some of the work that was lost during the transition, including a potential contract for US military components. Looking back, he admits that buying the shop was a leap of faith. “I had no experience with the lasers or the machining equipment. I hired a full-time machinist, and several of the other guys have some experience there too. I managed to keep the laser operator with me, and my general manager, who has owned two different laser shops over the past 30 years, saw what we were doing and asked if he could join. I’m very fortunate to have such talented people working here.”

It’s not all about hard work. Krabbe and his team enjoy what they do, with the shop being the perfect outlet for a staff of auto enthusiasts working on many restoration projects and building hotrods from the ground up. He says most of the paying business continues to be one-offs and custom work, but says it might be nice to develop his own product line of truck accessories one day. “There are so many different truck brands and styles out there that it’s a bit tricky. I’ve found the biggest challenge with our growth has been adapting as we continue to evolve as a company.When I had one employee, it was a lot easier to manage, because I was doing much of the work myself. But I’ve got a really great team. It’s not too hard to get everybody on the same page, and all pulling in the same direction. For now, things are going just fine.” SMT

FABTECH 2014: Harnessing software for smarter fabricating

While new and innovative machines were in abundance at FABTECH 2014, what dominated the show floor was software and how suppliers are harnessing the power of software technology to create smarter fabricating solutions.

Weld video library grows to more than 300

Xiris Automation Inc. has expanded its weld video library to over 300 videos.

Fastems to exhibit CNC automation at IMTS 2022

Fastems LLC will showcase its CNC automation solutions for milling and turning machines at booth 339186 in the South Building at IMTS 2022.

SST opens largest NA EDM consumables facility

SST is opening what the company says is the largest North American EDM consumables facility in New Britain, CT. The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 1. The facility is set to open November 18.

CGTech joins Okuma's Partners in THINC

CGTech, a developer of CNC software for simulations, verification, optimization and analysis technology for the manufacturing industry, has joined Partners in THINC, a network of 40 indusry suppliers using a commom open architecture platform, PC-based THINC OSP control to bring innovative solutions to manufacturers.

Case Study: Smart Investment

by Noelle Stapinsky

Inspection techniques

As anyone in the fabricating and welding business knows, process and part inspection is a critical component of a successful business. Build and weld a poor part will simply guarantee failure.

Samuel acquires 100% of additive business Burloak Technologies

Samuel Son & Co., Ltd., a Burlington, Ont.-based metals distributor and industrial products manufacturer, has acquired all remaining shares of Burloak Technologies, an engineering and design contract manufacturer for additive manufacturing (AM), materials development, high precision CNC machining, post-processing and metrology.

Canadian manufacturing growth in October highest in 2.5 years

The Canadian manufacturing continues to grow, hitting the highest level in 2.5 years in October, according to the RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI). The PMI is a monthy survey that serves as a gauge of manufacturing business conditions. 

After adjusting for seasonal variation, the RBC PMI - a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of the health of the manufacturing sector - rose to its highest level in 30 months during October. At 55.6, up from 54.2 in September and above the series average of 53.3, the RBC PMI indicated a strong improvement in Canadian manufacturing operation conditions.

The Rules of X-Ray Micro CT (and When to Break Them)

Offer the term “metrology equipment” to a group of industrial or manufacturing engineers in a word-association test and it's highly likely CMM (coordinate measuring machine) would be the response.

Jet-through chuck with new sizes

Big Kaiser has expanded its jet-through hydraulic chuck line to include the BCV interface and additional inch sizes.

High speed machining of Mathews bow quiver components

High speed machining of Mathews bow quiver components on a Makino 51nx horizontal machining centre.

Shaving seconds with quick change tooling

One of the critical measurements of machine shop productivity has always been equipment uptime, and in recent years that factor has been dependent on improvements that amount to a few minutes or even seconds.

Aerospace Manufacturing: Rising Star

The aerospace industry faces unprecedented growth–and the challenges that come with it

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn