Picking up speed

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by Tim Wilson

Acquisition part of growth strategy

Job Shops In Canada | Nova Scotia

Shop Vitals
Years in business: 15

Shop floor: 929 sq m (10,000 sq ft)

Part capacity: Waterjet cutting envelope is 1,829 x 3,658 mm (72 x 144 in.), up to 203 mm (8 in.) thick. Vertical machining centre has travels of 1,524 mm (60 in.), 762 mm (30 in.) and 965 mm (38 in.) in the X, Y and Z axes respectively. Largest lathe swings 711 mm (28 in.) over the bed, 508 mm (20 in.) over the cross slide and 3,048 mm (120 in.) between centres. Shear rated for 3 m (10 ft) of 6.35 mm (0.25 in.) mild steel. Press brake is 200 ton x 4 m (12 ft.). The shop can oll and bend up to 50.8 mm (2 in.) schedule 40 pipe with a rotary draw bender and section rolls. A 5 ton overhead crane covers the whole shop.

Key processes: CWB certified for GTAW, SMAW and FCAW weld processes in a variety of materials. Manual and CNC machining for repair, prototype and projects. Also 3D printing using the FDM process and laser engraving.

Key machining/equipment: Flow IFB6012 waterjet, Stratasys uPrint 3D printer, Epilog Fusion 32 laser engraver, Fryer MC-60 VMC, Mazak VCN510C VMC, Haas ST-30 turning centre, Annn Yang DY730C CNC lathe with live tooling.


Velocity Machining & Welding in Dartmouth, NS, is a full service welding, fabrication, and waterjet cutting shop that was incorporated in May 2000 and has grown organically, most recently, via acquisition.

“Since inception Velocity has grown at a steady pace,” says Sean MacPhee, Velocity’s president. “Two and a half years ago, we had our current facility built, which was fifty per cent larger than our previous one. About one and a half years after we moved into it, it was full of equipment and employees. We realized if we were to continue to grow, the best course would be acquisition.”

The opportunity came in December 2014, when Velocity became aware of the opportunity to acquire Techtronics Machine Works Ltd.

“Techtronics philosophy, customer base and growth closely mirrored Velocity’s,” says MacPhee. “It was a perfect fit. Techtronics is ISO 9001 and Controlled Goods certified, has 28 employees and operates out of a 9,000 sq ft facility in Musquodoboit Harbour, NS.”

One way Velocity has set itself apart is to offer technologies few of its competitors offer. Waterjet cutting is one example.

“Waterjet cutting has been instrumental in the growth of Velocity. It was the springboard that opened the door to a whole new customer base,” says MacPhee. “It was a service we offered to our customers at a time when no other company was offering the service. It allowed us to cut near net shape or cut to size parts in many different materials for our customers and our competitors.”

The company is active in a number of industries, including ocean sciences, aerospace, defence, mining, industrial repairs, oil and gas, and prototyping. Materials include aluminum, stainless steel, and many other standard and exotic alloys. Product design and production–from prototypes and small runs, to complete custom machines and assemblies–are assisted by the company’s ability to leverage 3D CAD software.

“Our 3D CAD software, Geomagic, has allowed us to design and develop products for our customers with no surprises to them when they see the finished product,” says MacPhee. “Everyone is on the same page, or perhaps I should say ‘screen’.”

By screen sharing with its customers, Velocity can explain and show features and concepts that are simply not possible with two dimensional drawings, whether in person or on the phone.

“As they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ If that’s true, then having a 3D virtual model that can be rotated and manipulated in any way you like must be worth millions of words.” Another advantage of Velocity’s 3D CAD software is that it is less costly to make virtual mistakes with a computer than with real machines on the shop floor,” says MacPhee.

MacPhee says that given Velocity’s diverse customer base, the company is not significantly affected by industrial trends. However, as a counter to the price of oil, Velocity has seen an increase in demand for maintenance related products where the company acts as an OEM.

“In terms of technology we see increasing interest in 3D printed parts,” says MacPhee. “However, with government subsidized universities and community colleges offering the same service at greatly subsidized prices, it does make it difficult to compete. The good news is that at Velocity we like to say that we have no competition, because most of the companies that would be called competitors are also our customers, and we treat them as such.” SMT

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