Metalloid assists others with chemical compounds

Jerry Meehan, an employee of Metalloid Corp., Huntington, IN, transfers chemicals into a drum. The company ships drums across North America to customers that use the chemicals in a variety of production applications.
Photo by Jason Parsons.

An industrial organization located on the west side of Huntington, IN, helps a wide array of manufacturers form their products by assisting with chemical compounds.

Metalloid Corporation, 500 Jackson St., produces tube end forming compounds, stamping and forming compounds, machining and grinding fluids and specialty fluids, compounds and miscellaneous products to help their heating and cooling industry buyers and ma-chining organization customers, among others, create their products.

"We manufacture metalworking fluid and lubricant," says Robert McKay, company president. "We make lubricants that are used to machine metal or form metal.

"Our two biggest areas are fin stamping, which is used in an air conditioning unit for heat exchange, and the other area is forming tubing end, which makes tubes larger or smaller de-pending on what the buyer wants."

McKay says the company sells locally to Lime City Manufacturing, General Aluminum, CFM Corp., PHD and STE, among others. The company also has a variety of national and international customers.

"There is a fair amount of our business in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan," McKay says. "More than half of our business is scattered across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Our products have followed the migration of jobs to Mexico."

The company has a sales staff of three people, two of which scour the United States trying to get companies to purchase their products, and the other one who stays regional. The sales staff tries to sell compounds that consist solely of products the company produces in its own laboratories.

"We are a blending operation," McKay says. "We bring in materials and make com-pounds based on the specifications of our customers. That's how we create the chemicals."

McKay says Metalloid has 10 to 12 of its chemical compounds in storage, as there is a constant need for those chemicals. He adds, though, the company also creates compounds as small as five gallons and as large as 1,100 gallons specifically for just one customer.

"Our business has a research and development part where we work in the lab and find the chemical compound a company needs in order to give them the end product they desire," McKay says. "Then we test the product with the customer, and if it does not perform as well as the customer would have liked, we sometimes have to go back to the drawing board."

McKay says once the product passes tests run in their customers' plants, the chemical compound is ordered and is then made in bulk. The barrels with the compound are then shipped between 24 and 48 hours after the order is placed.

The chemicals are then transported by common carrier to plants in the United States, Mexico or Canada.

The Jackson Street facility employs seven people, who work one shift a day at the company.

The company has been in Huntington since 1951 when seven community members formed the fluid and lubricant-making facility. McKay got involved in the business in 1976 when he started in the company's laboratory formulating chemical compounds.
In 1985, McKay says he had the opportunity to buy President Ed Ulerick out of the busi-ness. McKay then became president of the company.

In 2001, McKay brought two partners into the company. Fred Edwards Jr. and Tom Ed-wards, who both live in Michigan, were brought in to head up national and international sales.

Then in 2002, Metalloid created a sister operation in Jacksonville, TX. There are two ad-ditional employees in Texas - one in the laboratory and office and one in manufacturing.
The plant in Texas does most of its business with fin stamping customers, who are in the heating and cooling industry, McKay says.

With two facilities, McKay notes the Huntington plant is the corporate headquarters of the company.

McKay says there are plenty of competitors in this field. The companies range from the large oil companies, who have capabilities to produce coolants to smaller operations than Metalloid's nine total employees and the services it offers.