An expansion project completed at Delong's last summer has enabled the steel fabricator to take on bigger jobs and avoid layoffs in a down economy.
The $5 million-plus in expansion projects has already started paying off.
"When it was pretty obvious that economic times were going to worsen, we took the approach that this is a good time to go ahead and improve the facility, so we can take on work we couldn't handle economically before," said Bob Bachta, Delong's executive vice president and general manager.
The Jefferson City-based company recently took on its largest project ever, a $9.2 million job to provide 3,152 tons of steel for a bridge in Green Bay, Wis. That topped the company's previous biggest project, a $7.7 million order from the Illinois Department of Transportation for a bridge in St. Clair County, Ill.
More than 95 percent of Delong's business is fabricating steel for bridges, but the company fabricates other products, including mail boxes used by some local home builders.
Neither would have been possible without a recent twophase expansion project that replaced one craneway and built another, Bachta said.
"Ultimately, it puts us in a much stronger position now if we can show we haven't had to lay off anybody, and actually we've hired people, in a down economic time," he said. "So our future looks very bright."
The project entailed replacing the main craneway that runs from the main building to the blasting and painting building. It now has a 40-ton capacity, twice that of the old one.
The second-phase of the expansion was a 60-ton capacity craneway over the facility's drill pad, which has been extended. That's where the fabricated parts are cut to exact length, then the bolted splices are put in so that they'll have a precise fit when assembled on site.
The old craneway and cranes were installed at Delong's other location, in Sedalia, along with a climate-controlled paint building. That project should be finished around June 1.
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