Case Studies

Schweizer Dipple Inc.: Honest, Timely and High-quality Service

  • Written by: Schweizer Dipple Inc.: Honest, Timely and High-quality Service
  • Produced by: Schweizer Dipple Inc.: Honest, Timely and High-quality Service
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Schweizer Dipple Inc. (SDI) has been providing northeastern Ohio industries with the specialized expertise to handle complicated mechanical systems since 1934. Founded by the two namesake partners, the company has spent eight decades operating on a commitment to hard work and integrity, which is evidenced by SDI’s many satisfied customers. Today, the Oakwood Village-based company remains a union-only contractor and takes pride in its continued success in providing clients with excellent workmanship, honest quotations and fair billing while providing the services they need most, and around the clock.

“We usually handle the really dirty and tough projects that most other mechanical contractors seem to shy away from and the ones that even fewer are capable of taking on,” explains Pete McGrogan, executive vice president and general manager of SDI. “About 80 percent of our work is process piping and the rest is HVAC piping and ductwork.”

A Reputation for Doing it Right

SDI is the only mechanical contractor in its area to have the National Board-issued “R” stamp certification for pressure piping repairs. The company retains pipe welders who are State-certified in carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, inconnel and chromium materials to name a few. The firm primarily works for heavy industrial clients, specializing in industrial process piping, fire protection systems, sheet metal and HVAC, provided from a state-of-the-art 25,000-square foot fabrication shop and offices. This comprehensive facility minimizes fieldwork, which helps with scheduling and budgeting. Clients have included ArcelorMittal Steel, First Energy, Ben Venue Labs, Alcoa, Lubrizol, Ford, NASA, BASF, Nestle, Republic Powdered Metals, Charter Steel, Graf Tech, Noveon, BF Goodrich, University Hospitals and Sifco, just to name a few.

The company’s veteran superintendents, supervisors and project managers can handle any size project, from daily maintenance and outage work to major expansions and new construction, and SDI is flexible when it comes to specialty jobs. SDI develops comprehensive plans for field organization, engineering specifications, erection procedures, assembles construction equipment and tooling, estimates craft labor requirements, budgets for accurate cost control and schedules/coordinates all construction activities on large-scale facilities.

“Our office staff and key field personnel are the reason we are a go-to mechanical contractor in the region,” insists McGrogan. Partnering with Kelley Steel Erection Company adds to the capabilities. However, due to the slowed and changing economy SDI has looked to apply its services into new market sectors.

“As things got slow in the industrial market, we have branched out a bit and have gotten into the food processing industry. We just finished up a job for Fresh Mark Inc., a company that produces a variety of different meat products,” explains McGrogan. “They actually produce the hot dogs sold at the Cleveland Indians Stadium. We installed a new aeration piping system that assisted their wastewater treatment facility, which processes all the post-production waste.”

Unsurprisingly, the company’s experience can be applied to help client operations become more safe and and sustainable. “We are currently under contract with Spirax Sarco at Miceli’s, a cheese-producing company that has been making cheese in Cleveland since 1923,” says McGrogan. “We are upgrading their steam condensate piping system to make them more efficient. Miceli uses an extraordinary amount of steam and when the steam cools or condenses the hot water can be reused. The end result of this project will allow them to recapture the steam condensate and put it through a recycling system so they reduce their waste, conserve water and maintain their food safety standards.”

Pressing Forward

One of the company’s biggest projects of the year is also one of the most highly anticipated in the area. “We recently secured a contract with Norris Brothers and Alcoa to rebuild their 50,000-ton hydraulic press,” explains McGrogan. “The press at this plant had been specifically designed to produce aerospace parts and a couple of years ago the 50,000-ton press was showing some signs of wear and a cracked base, which is expected considering it was built almost 60 years ago. But this press, when first built was I believe the third-largest hydraulic press in the world and it’s absolutely massive. SDI and Norris Brothers are tearing it down and completely rebuilding it. And because of its complexity and massiveness National Geographic has been filming the entire project.”

The new press, when completed, will run full-time alongside the 35,000-ton press Alcoa also operates, which has currently assumed much of the 50,000-ton machine’s production. When complete this project is expected to create 1,000 new jobs within northeastern Ohio. “The demolition process is now complete and we are currently manning up for putting it all back together,” says McGrogan. “Some of the hydraulic piping we will be welding on has a wall thickness of about two inches, requiring pre-heat, stress relieving, and it will be x-ray quality. It’s a one-of-a-kind project and we are extremely excited about it.”

McGrogan is keen to remain optimistic about the future of the company and its potential growth. “Even though we may be working on smaller projects, we’re still working for some pretty big clients,” he says. “In the next couple of years I can realistically see us continuing to focus on our usual market sectors but diversifying as necessary. For example, we have done a lot of work with the local steel mills over the years. Even as the ownership changed hands and the parent companies consolidated down to just one steel mill; SDI remains the primary mechanical contractor for major projects and daily piping maintenance work.

“We’re currently finishing a project on the C5 and C6 blast furnaces at ArcelorMittal Cleveland Works, where we replaced stainless steel cooling water piping to the shell cooling plates,” continues McGrogan. “The furnaces have close to 1,000 cooling plates each. And we will be mobilizing shortly to rework Hydraulic Systems at the 84-inch hot strip mill finishing stands, which will help them to meet new quality standards dictated by the auto industry.

“More recently, however, we have been working to secure more maintenance contracts with some of our regular industrial clients, which saves us and them from having to bid every job and allowing the client’s representatives to call us any time, including nights and weekends, to come and fix the problem. Our base will always be industrial, though, we have created that reputation and are proud of it,” says McGrogan in summation.

With almost 80 years of quality heavy mechanical service to build upon, Schweizer Dipple Inc. is sure to bring the expertise that clients have come to expect at any hour.

Published on: March 10, 2013

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