Meet the Man Who Built an Aluminum House in his Spare Time

Many of us use aluminum every day to preserve our food, insulate our homes, and even travel to and from work. However, mid-century architect Ed Westall has us all beat; in the 1950s he built a beautiful family home entirely out of aluminum! The showpiece stands as a testament to the mid-century modern aesthetic as well as the triumph of human imagination – and the adaptability of aluminum alloys. Of course, we here at Taber are a bit biased in our opinions of aluminum, but we find Westall’s story to be as inspiring as it is illuminating (or shall we say, a-luminating!)

While working as an engineer in the 1940s and 50s, Ed Westall was searching for something more. Something to give his life purpose, and hopefully enrich the lives of others around him. It was post-war America; the economy was booming, and more and more families were looking to upgrade their homes and move out of the cities. Westall wanted to come up with an efficient and affordable way to provide as many homes as possible to as many families as possible. He came up with the idea of an aluminum house due to the availability of the material after the war. His prototype was decidedly Space Age, with many rounded corners and domes, all shining with reflective aluminum siding. His contemporaries marveled at the efficient use of space inside the home, even as they puzzled as to whether the innovative design would catch on.

Ultimately aluminum homes did not become the standard of the future as Westall had hoped, although the material has many applications in modern homes and homebuilding today. We can still take inspiration from his courage and desire to help families around the country. At Taber Extrusions, we are always looking for new ways to inspire our communities around us by creating custom shapes for almost any application. Call us today at (888) 984-1659 to see what aluminum could build for your future!

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February 9th, 2017|

2016 Was A Great Year for Aluminum Markets

2016 was certainly an interesting year; between Brexit and the enormously capricious U.S Presidential election, a lot of folks in many industries of the world found it hard to shake uncertainty in their trust in market stability.

Despite the overall negativity that seems to be extra pervasive as of late, the aluminum market has reason to remain optimistic- as 2016 showed consistent positive growth in all areas of the aluminum sector with aluminum prices rising by 15% over the course of the year, with 2017 showing no sign of slowing progress.

Since Donald Trump’s win in the American presidential election, a variety of commodities have experienced a surge in price and overall positive market sentiment, aluminum included, with prices nearly breaching the $1,800 price level.

There are a few key factors here that have effected aluminum prices. First, following Chinese curtailments in the 3rd quarter of the year, alumina appears to be inching towards a supply deficit. In addition, higher coal prices have also propped up aluminum’s market price. The cost curve for global aluminum shifted upward steadily after the 1st quarter, when China’s aluminum production slowed.

And the overall positive trends are showing no signs of stopping going into 2017.

Back in December 2016 the U.S Federal Reserve hiked the interest rate by 0.25%- a move which would seem to indicate that they believe in the overall world economy strengthening, with anticipation for more rate hikes in 2017. US aluminum demand could potentially be impacted by this hike. As the U.S dollar becomes a stronger currency, commodities tend to drop in price; but a stronger dollar also makes American aluminum costlier in foreign countries.

Furthermore, President Donald Trump’s proposed infrastructure investments could mean a lot of business for industries like steel and aluminum- as investments in bridges, highways, and power grids could boost the demand for extruded aluminum. Of course, it’s hard to tell whether or not all or any of these projects will pass through.

Taber Extrusions is looking forward to another year and another opportunity to prove that we have the broadest capabilities in the aluminum extrusion industry and aluminum fabrications services that are second to none. Are you ready to make 2017 another great success?

For more information or to request a quote, please call us today ay (800) 563-6853 or e-mail us at info@taberextrusions.com

January 27th, 2017|

Employee Spotlight: Mike McDonald

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To know him is to love him,” a phrase used casually nowadays, hardly moving an emotional muscle of the person being told: “No really… he’s a very special person. He is devoted. He is loving. He is honest. He is consistent.”

Berlie McDonald. Berlie is not the subject of this quarter’s Employee Spotlight. His Grandson, Michael McDonald is. However, if you want to see what makes Mike McDonald tick, get him talking about his Grandfather – Berlie McDonald. It seems that all the same words you could use to describe Mike’s Grandfather are in Mike’s DNA too, nurtured into his upbringing by one tight family unit, starting with Berlie, who passed away less than a year ago.

Michael McDonald is the Co-Plant Manager for Taber’s Russellville, Arkansas location. A Russellville native, he worked as a contractor and carpenter up until 2004. Almost 13 years ago, Mike applied to Taber as a temp, and was hired on full time within a few months. Mike spent time in shipping, inventory, and production for over seven years before he moved into account management and sales, working closely to connect production to sales staff and clients. He now oversees raw material, purchasing, extrusion, finishing, and shipping on the extrusion side of the business, and manages the fabrication department.

The “McDonald Family Bond” – which is the foundation that Mike draws from – is in everything he does. As a young boy, he observed Grandpa Berlie watching episodes of “Gunsmoke” thoughout the day – so no wonder this is something that brings back sweet memories for Mike. Today, Mike’s children share episodes of “Gunsmoke” alongside Dad. McDonald has 5 children – 4 sons ages 26, 25, 15, 14, and a daughter of 12. He and wife Brandi are celebrating their 15thwedding anniversary on February 1st, 2017. An Alaskan cruise is the dream vacation, but this year they will settle for a quiet dinner, so on their 20th anniversary, the kids will be more independent and they can sail into the sunset without the slightest worry in the world. Not that there’s anything to worry about. When asked how raising a daughter was different from raising sons, he responded, “She’s neat and orderly, responsible, and dependable.” Looks like the McDonald ladies are as organized as can be! (Amen says the choir!) Grandpa Berlie is smiling down on this family unit, indeed.

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Mike truly believes in Taber’s ability to bring cutting edge extrusion innovation and progress to the world. He dedicates his career to making the ‘impossible’ — possible. He knows that the people that comprise Taber are what ultimately makes the company successful. “We have a very unique group of people here. That’s what sets Taber apart from competitors. We are all dedicated in making Taber the best in the industry.” Mike knows that balance is the key to being a great leader. “The future for Taber isn’t written yet, but I see a very long and prosperous one. Taber has had a very big impact on the industry in its 44 years. We are continuing in our research of new technology and the possibilities of applying that technology or technique to our unique capabilities, so I think as long as we continue with what has made us successful, and continue to improve those areas, the sky is the limit for Taber Extrusions.”

On his days off, you can find Mike spending time with his family – watching his kids play sports or a motorcycle ride with Brandi… or perhaps fitting in some hunting, fishing, or camping. Nearby fishing & camping advice? “Lake Dardanelle. Anything around Lake Dardanelle is going to be good. The Annual Bass Masters Tournament is there.” Can’t argue with that. Thank you Berlie, for charting the course for your grandson Mike McDonald. Thank you for being a great role model so he can pass on those same attributes to his children, loved ones, and work associates. Your generation lives proudly in those that came after you. We are honored to have Michael McDonald at Taber Extrusions. To know him is to love him.

January 21st, 2017|

How Extruded Aluminum Saved the Canoe

canoe-1668538_960_720The canoe is one of the oldest seafaring vessels in human history, but did you know that its history is inextricably linked with that of the American aluminum industry? Without innovations in extruded aluminum shapes, we might not have the modern canoe we know and love today. It all started after World War II, when the U.S. had been producing record amounts of extruded aluminum for the war effort. After the need for automotive and aerospace parts began to lessen, manufacturers and extruders needed to come up with a new use for the material. Enter: the humble canoe.

Nowadays we think of aluminum as a common metal with many household and recreation applications, including but not limited to water sports. However, because aluminum is not a naturally occurring resource but an alloy made up of multiple elements, there was time before the 1940s when finding the right applications and demand for aluminum shapes was a tricky proposition. World War II changed the U.S. economy and workforce forever by employing millions of recession-stricken Americans for primarily manufacturing-based jobs to aid in the war effort. One such employer was called Grunman, a major supplier of aluminum aircraft for allied forces. After the war, Grunman needed to find a way to stay in business while providing extruded aluminum shapes for the public at large. One of Grunman’s employees, an avid outdoorsman, first came up with the idea of an aluminum canoe after struggling with his traditional canvas and wood constructed model. Aluminum, he proposed, would be significantly lighter, watertight, and easy to manufacture using Grunman’s advance techniques gleaned from extruding military aircraft parts. The gamble paid off, and the canoes quickly became Grunman’s most popular product.

Today aluminum is still one of the most commonly found materials for personal watercraft, and Taber is proud to contribute to this legacy of innovation, ingenuity, and American manufacturing. Visit our site here to learn about some of the other industries we serve besides marine; including automotive, aerospace, and agricultural markets. No matter how unique your idea, Taber’s team of metallurgists and engineers are ready to make it a reality. Get in touch today!

January 12th, 2017|

Taber CNC Machining Capabilities

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 10.52.06 AMTaber Extrusions is your full service partner from design to delivery. Our engieneers and designers work alongside you to turn your concept into a working product through our expert machining with a personal touch. CNC machining is used extensively by aluminum extrusion companies to increase efficiency and reduce error in all steps of the extrusion process, from casting, to extrusion and beyond. Our mission is to fully understand the machining needs of our customers’ aluminum extrusion-based products. Taber’s remarkable attention to the needs of the market position the company to provide customized, versatile, high-quality market-oriented products that can satisfy a wide range of applications.

Our Haas VF-7 is a rugged, large-sized VMC that yields full reliability and accuracy in a large-framed machine. The VF-7 has a 40-taper cartridge spindle driven by a 30 hp vector Dual-Drive (Y-Delta) drive. The VF-7 produces either 75 ft-lb of torque at a low 1400 rpm, or 250 ft-lb at 450 rpm with the optional 2-speed gearbox — and will also run up to 8,100 rpm in 1.2 seconds for finishing aluminum.

Haas VF-7 Video:

 

Up next the Emmegi Satellite XT allows for efficient work-piece machining advantages in pendulum mode including multiple set-ups. The work space of our longbed machining center can be divided into two areas, granting us the ability to load and unload on one side while machining on the other side. This level of efficiency in a machining process in return saves our customers money and time.

Emmegi Satellite XT Video:

The HMC500 comes fully loaded with features for incredibly fast cycle times. Achieving 20% faster rapid and acceleration than our phenomenally fast HM500S machine, the HMC500 is constructed with a lightweight column featuring a rigid stepped X axis rail design. This column enables a rapid feed rate of 63 meters per minute, 2480 inches per minute, with acceleration of 1G.

HMC500 Video:

Finally, through highly accurate scanning technologies, our Zeiss CMM has the ability to capture a fully defined 3D measurement for any of our extruded and fabricated profiles. Having this capability allows us to maintain the highest levels of quality by having our profiles extruded the right way- every time.

Zeiss CMM Video:

For more information or to request a quote, please call us today ay (800) 563-6853 or e-mail us at info@taberextrusions.com

December 21st, 2016|

Taber Now Offers AR-15 Dies to FFL Certified Firearms Manufacturers

Rectangular_container1There are a number of things that sets Taber Extrusions apart from their competition. Taber has the only rectangular container in North America, which allows our customers to extrude super wide shapes, much wider than traditional round containers can offer. Taber’s slogan is “Broadest Capabilities in the Aluminum Extrusion Industry.” Is this true? How can one company “blanket the market” when it comes to capabilities? By offering the offbeat. By supplying our customers with whatever they dream up. We’ve found that collaboration results in innovation. Taber Extrusions now offers customizable upper & lower oversized extrusions for AR-15 variant rifles, perfect for the progressive fabricator looking to accommodate multiple design features. The die sets we supply are of our own design.
Our dies are created from either the 7075, and/or 6061 series aluminum alloys, some of the strongest that see widespread use — they are naturally lightweight and strong and have a far higher heat threshold than other alloys, making them a very important material in the aerospace industry. That’s right — our AR-15 shapes are made from the same material as military grade jets and satellite apparatuses.

Our AR-15 extrusions specifically benefit mid-level FFL certified firearms manufacturers who require both the upper and lower receiver portion of the mold. Customers can order as little as 1 mill length of our standard or stock AR extrusions. We also grant some interior latitude for your discretion since our uppers and lowers are a bit oversized so our customers can have more freedom.

Taber Extrusions continues to earn our leadership role in the aluminum extrusion industry. We have added small order AR-15 dies to the mix, and will continue to service top names in both the archery and firearm industries.

Very few extruding companies provide such a service. Ready to get started? Give us a call at (800) 563-6853 or request a quote at info@taberextrusions.com.

December 7th, 2016|

Taber Makes An Appearance at the Airshow China!

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Zuhai, China – Airshow China 2016 took place November 1-6 and Taber’s NMLP sister company Elgiloy Specialty Metals had a booth in the middle of the action! Elgiloy represented Taber’s exhibit materials and continuous looping PowerPoint presentation in order to familiarize attendees with Taber’s wide variety of services including ultrasonic testing capabilities, hard alloys, large press, and complex aluminum extrusions for virtually any application. Check out these photos from the airshow to see how things went!

About the Airshow

The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) is the only international aerospace trade show in China that is endorsed by the Chinese government. Airshow China is held in Zhuhai, China and features real-size products, trade talks, technological exchange and flying displays. Since 1996, it has been a successful gateway for international aviation and aerospace enterprises to showcase the latest technology and products in the fast-growing Chinese market.

November 16th, 2016|

The International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition

ScholarshipThe Aluminum Extruders Council, which Taber Extrusions is a member of, has recently announced the 2017 International Aluminum Design Competition. Download the Call for Entries HERE.

The competition is aimed towards graduates, undergraduates, and high school students, who will compete to win over $8,500 cash in scholarships. The competition is intended to enlighten students studying architecture, design, and engineering about the many advantages of extruded aluminum profiles. The Aluminum Extruders Council hopes to encourage students to think outside the box to come up with new, inventive, and resourceful uses for extruded aluminum! The AEC has given out over $200,000 in awards throughout the lifetime of the contest.

FOR STUDENTS: Download the 2017 Design Competition entry form HERE.

FOR INSTRUCTORS: The AEC has made available an educational presentation on the contest, the advantages of aluminum extrusion, and some design tips. Implementing the competition into your curriculum is an excellent opportunity to expose your students to aluminum design and the benefits of aluminum extrusion. You can download the presentation in its entirety here.

Best of luck to all applicants! Entries are due no later than March 27, 2017.

November 8th, 2016|

Taber Extrusions is the Smart Choice in Today’s Aluminum Market

Though the aluminum market is still facing issues abroad from a decade of surplus due to high Chinese production, domestic aluminum extrusion is still a strong choice for your needs.

“Chinese aluminum exports have actually fallen this year. The country’s aluminum exports have fallen 4% year-over-year in the first eight months of 2016. However, Chinese aluminum exports have risen on a month-over-month basis for two consecutive months. There are concerns that some of the idled capacity in China is coming back online…

Meanwhile, the Fed’s decision to hold the benchmark rates steady was received well by markets. Most metals, including aluminum, reacted positively to the Fed’s announcement. We saw a sharp rally in aluminum prices.” (source)

Taber Extrusions is committed to building long lasting business relationships with our customers, and delivering high quality aluminum extrusion for each and every one of their projects. Our expertise, which is rooted in over 40 years of experience in the industry, along with our wide manufacturing capabilities and our commitment to collaboration and innovation make us not only the strong choice for your needs, but the smart one too.

October 19th, 2016|

Employee Spotlight: Allan Sewell

This month we’re proud to introduce you to the latest member of the Taber team: our new Taber Extrusions Plant Engineering Manager, Gulfport: Allan Sewell.

Originally from Runnelstown, Mississippi, and a proud graduate of University of Southern Mississippi, Allan Sewell (pronounced “Sue-ull”) has enjoyed an enduring and successful career in the manufacturing industry, bringing over 25 years of experience to the Taber Extrusions team. Joining the Taber team in September, his presence and expertise have elevated him to an essential role.

As the Plant Engineering Manager of the Gulfport location, Allan’s day-to-day objectives include keeping a sharp eye on his main team and their current projects, capital project management, and providing general engineering support to operations. As Taber Extrusions continues to grow as a company, so too does he want to grow his involvement with his location’s ambitious projects.

Ambitious projects don’t stop with Allan’s work career. Mr. Sewell has spent over 20 years restoring automobiles, buying and selling dozens, doing everything himself; mechanical and cosmetic, including paintwork. The minute you can get Allan talking about… “old things….” be prepared, you have opened a special place in this human heart. Ask him about “Red” or “Old Blue.” As with any group structure, there is going to be some favorites, and his 4-wheeled family is no exception. Blue is a sought after Jeep CJ8 Scrambler, CJ style, with more of a pickup bed, and quite coveted for its rarity. He held onto Blue until relocating from Tennessee in late 2013. Allan still has (and loves) his fully-drivable Red, which he’s had for 11 years.

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Beyond “Blue,” Allan has other memories he likes to build out. If you’ve ever heard about “reclaimed wood,” it’s quite a thing right now, even warranting a recent show on NPR. Here at Taber, we have our very own Allan Sewell that has been woodworking with this now-trendy-wood-medium since his wife asked him to build her something out of old barn wood similar to what she had seen at craft shows. But let’s back up a bit: Allan’s father was a finish carpenter, and the exposure to woodworking and cabinetry had always existed in his life. He began building cabinets and furniture in his own shops after finishing college as a hobby, always being involved at some level. But his wife’s request 7 years ago for barn wood furniture took Allan away from traditional fully detailed/finished woodworking to the reclaimed side of the universe.

She was referring to the nailing together of unfinished pieces of old wood, but Allan, not being the kind of person interested in doing things halfway, created a durable piece of finished furniture. That initiated the re-purposing of old wood. He has created many pieces since then, enjoying the hunt for lumber and all that comes with it; dismantling old barns, finding the right rustic pieces, and searching for nature’s best art samples. Currently, Allan is in the process of milling the lumber for the walls of his new shop. See one of his pieces at barnwoodbricks.com – a classic old world style coffee table/chest beautifully reclaimed from wormy chestnut. Now, or at least when his shop is finished, he will be building with both traditional milled virgin lumber, as well as, reclaimed.

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When Allan Sewell isn’t spending time with his wife, family, automobiles, or woodworking you will find him at Taber’s Gulfport location helping ensure a great company culture and quality products. “I’ve been fortunate during my career to have worked with many very talented people and have held positions in varying industries. This combination has rewarded me with a broad experience/exposure base for which I’m grateful.” Says Sewell.

His advice to others on how he reached his success? “Be as well rounded as possible, be willing to put in a lot of hours, and look for opportunities to grow your company and your role within it.”

Sounds precisely “on the beam,” Mr. Sewell. Taber is thrilled to have you as our Gulfport Plant Engineering Manager.

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October 10th, 2016|