The saying “from humble beginnings come great things” could easily be used to describe the evolution of Erie, Pa.-based Modern Industries Inc.
Founded by Herb Sweny, a 26-year-old second-generation immigrant, in 1946 in Erie, the company began with four employees in a rented 5,000-square-foot building. Today, nearly 70 years later, Modern Industries is 100% owned by the Sweny brothers. David, Dennis, Matt and Tim have a unique management leadership structure where Dennis and Tim share responsibilities as co-presidents and oversee four divisions (Contract Precision Machining/Welding/Assembly, Heat Treating, Materials Testing and Products) and over 250 employees. The four divisions reside in five different locations spanning just over 350,000 square feet. In a truly synergistic relationship, each division offers its own talents, which enhance the others. As an example of the experience the company brings to its customers, the Heat Treating division’s office staff has an average of 22 years of industry expertise per employee.
Today, the company – the largest heat treater in the Tri-State area – provides services to a wide array of markets (aerospace, automotive, trucking, military, tool and die, medical and agricultural) across the country. And for decades Modern Industries has been a certified, third-party-accredited company. It is currently approved for TS-16949, Nadcap (Heat Treating), AS-9100 and A2LA/ISO17025. All divisions conduct business nationally with a combined count of 1,026 active customers.
Modern Industries is one of a select few heat treaters nationwide that provides deep case carburizing of aerospace bearings. This process is recognized as one of the most challenging in the industry. Parts will be in the furnace for days while samples are pulled every four to five hours to ensure quality. Modern Industries also offers through-hardening, induction, vacuum, nitriding, ferritic carbonitriding (FNC), CNC straightening, specialized part/surface cleaning and several other basic heat-treating processes.
Modern Industries partnered with furnace manufacturers Surface Combustion and Williams Industrial Service to design and build a first-of-a-kind integrated Super 42 compatible with a Super 36 production line. The company also has three furnaces dedicated to nitriding, 13 endothermic integral-quench furnaces of various sizes, four induction spindles, three continuous belt furnaces, and several aging and tempering furnaces.
Modern Industries showed its commitment to servicing the powder-metal market in the mid-Pennsylvania region through the acquisition of a heat treater located in the St. Marys, Pa., area in 2006. Since this transaction, the company has doubled its batch capacity, added and upgraded the inspection/testing department, and upgraded the continuous line controllers to 2013 vintage.
What puts Modern Industries above its competition, however, is its certified metallurgical lab. More than 25 employees dedicated to material testing allow the company to provide insight and knowledge to customers and to its other divisions. The lab performs mechanical testing (tensile, compression, stress rupture and impact) chemical analysis, materialographic analysis (light microscopy, electron microscopy and microhardness testing), nondestructive testing and failure analysis.
Modern Industries, a proud MTI member since 1971, continues to thrive. In the past year, the company added three CNC machining centers, valued at over $1.1 million, to provide the newest technology to its Machining Division’s 65 CNC machine fleet. Modern Industries also added special cleaning equipment to clean without the mechanical damage often experienced with more conventional methods. As far as 2014 is concerned, the company is planning on upgrading furnace controls and installing new batch and induction equipment.
If there is one thing about Modern Industries that has stayed the same after all these years is that it remains a family-owned business, one whose owners are committed to continuous improvement, reinvestment into the company and growth.
Visit www.modernind.com for more information on Modern Industries.
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