Storch Makes Manufacturing and Magnets Cool – A Made In America Interview

Storch Magnetics is a worldwide leader in the development and innovation of magnetic equipment. Since 1952, they have manufactured magnetic products in Livonia, MI that is used all over the world. This year, they are approaching the production of their 200 millionth magnet.

A family-owned business, the new President and CEO, Matt Carr, is the first non-family member to hold the CEO position.

In this conversation, Carr discusses the company’s recent turnaround and its unique approach to magnetic equipment.

Custom Beltless Magnetic Slide Conveyor made by Storch before shipment to Canada.

Jason Blount: What type of companies are using these magnetic slide conveyors?

Matt Carr: Customers that are safety conscious and or became frustrated with the costs of downtime and the unnecessary cost of replacement steel hinge belts while trying to conveyor ferrous parts or scrap.

Jason: Can you tell me about your background in the industry?

Matt: I got hired directly out of high school and took a job at a local factory, sweeping the floor and learning how to Tig and Mig weld. During that time, I was also attending a local community college from a developed interest in architecture using AutoCAD. We were seeing significant advances in digital design back then in Between 1992 and 1996. I was on a career path to potentially do that full-time. Then, I was taught how to fabricate and I found out that was my real passion. I spent about three years on the floor learning to fabricate under the wing of the owner. He took me down a path with the intention of selling, but they taught me how to make every single product from the ground up and I became more interested in the engineering side. Ultimately, I went from the floor of manufacturing for three years to the engineering room. I had a real hands-on advantage over many people who had a four-year degree in engineering coming straight out of school. We redesigned a lot of the product line to make more marketable and more cost effective to build. Those skills put me on a fast path to do special R&D type and product testing programs for new product applications. That later turned into sales, sales management, business development and which has now led me to become President and CEO of a competing company since December and 10 years of employment with Storch Products Co Inc.

CEO, Matt Carr, speaking with students on Mfg Day 2018

Jason: How does the sourcing process work with your magnets?

Matt: It’s changed over the last 30 years. Magnets traditionally had mills that were inside the U.S., but within the last 20 years almost every mill was purchased by Chinese companies, so the production has been taken back to China on the large scale. Aside from the raw magnets, everything else is done in-house.

Jason: Which product accounts for the majority of your revenue?

Matt: We have a really good mixture, which has been a big part of our success. We sell to virtually every industry that exists. We have about 1,000 customers on a regular basis. We sell to aerospace, pharmaceutical, automotive, industrial, recycling, mining, manufacturing, food processing and many others.

Jason: Did you guys create the SuperMag?

Haley Delestowicz, Jacob Bowden, Storch CEO Matt Carr, Anthony Sainz, Zachary Maszatics, and Adam Tebbe are pictured behind the SuperMag at Saginaw Valley State University as a Capstone Engineering Project.

Matt:

We did. That was actually my brainchild and I think it has helped propel me to my current position. The need for SuperMag was simple. We used to put the magnet behind trucks, which would mean that the pickup truck would have to run over all of the debris before it reaches the tow behind magnet. The strongest Tow Behind electromagnets are either gasoline or a diesel-generated electromagnets. Once you run out of fuel, you’d lose all of that material wherever you were. If you ran out of gas on the main road, you were in trouble. They were troublesome, expensive to build and were becoming harder to source quality Made in the USA components. SuperMag was born because I wanted to put the magnet in front of the working vehicle to protect it. It sounds easy, but magnets are extremely heavy by nature. The breakthrough happened one day when I was driving to work and I saw a Boss snowplow and figured it could probably hold a lot of weight looking at the large new V shaped configuration. So, we went to the local dealer and bought one, then designed a magnet to fit right on the same center pin and utilize the same hydraulic system and controls to rise and lower the assembly as well as hydraulically rotate the magnet to redirect the magnetic field resulting in the magnet to turn off. Instantly, our design fit all of the Boss trucks offering and we have now expanded into other manufactures lines for quick attachment. It’s been around almost 4 years now.

Picture of Students and Staff, Manufacturing Day 2018 inside Storch Products Co, Inc, Livonia, Michigan USA

Jason: Do you have other popular products?

Matt: The Magnetic Slide Conveyor is our flagship product. We estimate that we have built several thousand of them, and we’ve absolutely pushed the threshold of how big a magnetic conveyor can be built. We own the longest magnetic conveyor, verified by the Guinness Book of World Records and we actually just applied to be recognized as the widest as well awaiting confirmation of 62” wide model. Storch Magnetic Slide Conveyors have helped a lot of factories because, without it, they have to stop production to clean up excess materials. Once they have one of our magnetic slide conveyors installed they can focus on what they do best, producing their product and not doing constant maintenance on someone else’s belted conveyor.

Jason: How many employees do you have?

Matt: We’re up to 31 right now, however we are growing at fast pace. 6 new hires started within the last 60-90 days.

Jason: What do you think has been the biggest secret to the company’s turnaround?

Matt: Actually, we’re finding youth in the industry. Younger people have been a great addition to the team and we cherish everyone. We found that everyone is motivated a little differently and we’re making positive impacts on safety and the environment with products like SuperMag and our conveyors. A lot of the youth embrace that. It’s a game-changer.

Jason: What is Storch doing to help the environment?

Matt: Several years ago, we started using hydraulic oil that’s made in America. It’s awesome, it’s made out of renewable lubricants in Ohio. It’s safe for the environment because it’s sunflower seed based. If it spills on the ground anywhere, it’s not an issue. So, we can ship our products with the oil already in it to save our clients some time and we know it’s done right. As for tires, there are 220 million flat tires every year in the U.S. alone. There are seven punctures every single second according to AAA. Because of this, there are supposedly more tires on the planet than there are trees. We’re proud to be working with Michelin Tire Corporation currently on the X-Tweel program, which is an airless tire. It is now standard on our Storch SuperMag tow-behind. The tires are even made in South Carolina.

Storch conveyor wins Guinness World Record

A 92.5-ft. magnetic slide conveyor, special-ordered by ATK Small Caliber, Independence, Mo., and manufactured by Storch Magnetics, Livonia, Mich., has been accepted by the Guinness World Records as the world’s longest conveyor.

ATK now Northrup Grumman manufactures ferrous ammunition clips that are used to link 5.56-mm up to .50-caliber machine gun rounds in belts. The conveyor collects the scrap from 13 other conveyors that move the parts from stamping presses that make the clips.

The fully sealed conveyor features a re-buildable 304 stainless steel track. All moving conveyor components and drive train are lubricated by an ecofriendly sealed oil bath. An die-spring loaded automatic chain take-up system eliminates the need for regular maintenance.

Woman Owned

Upon the founder’s death in 1960, Storch Products became a woman-owned business and remained so with Ed and Ruth’s daughter, Marjorie Storch as principal stockholder until three years ago. The 31 employees work as a team now with third-generation owner Thomas Papora and now with President & CEO Matt Carr, to continue to effect double-digit growth over the last several years since Carr’s hire in 2009. Having recently added increased manufacturing capabilities, Storch anticipates exceeding their growth trend while servicing a larger international customer base with a more in-depth, state-of-the-art product line and excited staff.

View the inspiring video below of Storch’s Brand Anthem:

“They say that nothing is built here anymore. That we’ve lost our craftsman. That American enguiniety and innovation is a thing of the past. Well they, whoever they are, haven’t been to Michigan, and they definitely haven’t been to Storch. Over 60 years ago our company was founded on the idea that if it can be built, we should be the ones to build it…”

Learn More: https://www.storchmagnetics.com/

MADE IN AMERICA 2019

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