Southwest Metal Treating Corp. (SWMT) of Fort Worth, Texas, is celebrating a milestone birthday this year – 30 years old, to be exact.

The commercial heat treater was established in 1985 by the Fussell family, who still owns and operates the company today. With just a couple of small Ipsen furnaces, the young business provided heat-treating services for local machine shops.

Today, SWMT – 42 employees strong – serves the oil & gas, mining, rail and fastener industries. The MTI member provides a vast array of services, including age hardening, annealing, carburizing, cryogenic freezing, flame hardening, nitrocarburizing, normalizing, solution annealing, stress relieving and vacuum heat treating. The company’s roller-hearth lines are capable of handling up to 6,000 pounds per hour, and it can stress relieve parts up to 32 feet long and 12 feet wide. SWMT also has an induction heat-treating department that specializes in long bars up 4 inches OD x 24 feet long.

SWMT, which has over 50,000 square feet of space on 7 acres, also boasts a variety of metallurgical testing services. These include Charpy impact testing, chemical analysis, hardness testing, micro-etching, microhardness testing and tensile testing. Proving it is much more than a heat-treat provider, SWMT also offers abrasive cleaning services such as sand blasting, shot blasting and tumble blasting.

The company processes a wide range of materials for its customers, including but not limited to: stainless steel, low- and high-carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel, aluminum, brass and copper.

Despites its equipment and scope of services, however, SWMT says that its ISO 9001:2008 certification is most important to its success as a business. This certification keeps every employee accountable for their actions on the job, and its strict guidelines permits management to oversee each department and ensure it is operating as required by company policies and procedures and customer requirements.

What makes SWMT unique is its status as a family owned company. This fact gives it the ability to do business with companies of all sizes, from home-based shops to large publicly-traded companies. As such, SWMT has a rather simple philosophy: “We have room for everyone, and it is always our intention to treat others as we would want to be treated.”

SWMT is continually evolving. The company recently restructured production employees’ shift schedules in an effort to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gives SWMT a controlled, fixed-time work environment while reducing and minimizing overtime costs. This has also allowed the business to give its workforce more days off for rest and relaxation with their families, which ultimately fosters a happier work environment.

As for the near future, SWMT plans on turning into a semi-paperless facility. It will utilize barcodes and scanners to upload data throughout every process. This will allow SWMT to track everything it needs via software for real-time information it can share with customers. The goal is to build processing information for each part, which will in turn allow the company to provide parts at a faster rate. SWMT hopes to eventually have the ability to supply exact lead-time expectations for its customers.


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