Becker/SMC

Earlier this year, Becker/SMC faced a significant challenge. The Huntington-based manufacturer had been restructured and was using a new business management system, both of which complicated the recertification process for ISO 9001: 2008. 

Becker/SMC looked to RCBI’s Quality Implementation group for assistance. Over a period of a month, Director of Quality Services Erica Cheetham worked closely with Becker/SMC employees, especially Bob Bolton, Becker/SMC’s quality manager. Because the company’s business is primarily overseas, Becker/SMC must be certified for ISO, as well as two other standards, ATEX and IECEx.

Marking its 75th birthday this year, Becker/SMC is owned by Becker Mining Systems, a global supplier for the mining industry. Becker/SMC designs and manufactures electrical components, open-type and explosion proof motor starters, longwall electrical controls and power distribution equipment for a variety of industries.

With RCBI’s expertise, the electrical-component manufacturer was recertified.

“In a month’s time, RCBI got us back on track,” said Darron Nelson, OEM product line manager for Becker/SMC. “It was painful. It was a long month, but they did it.”

This wasn’t the first time that Becker/SMC looked to RCBI for assistance. Cheetham worked with the company to qualify for its initial certification in 2011, a process that was so involved that she worked on site at the company several days a week for two years. She returns to assist the company with its annual ISO audits.

RCBI has provided other services to the company, as well. In 2013, Becker/SMC received an InnovateWV grant that allowed the company to develop a prototype of a product called a hot coupler, used primarily by its mining clients.

Innovate WV is a joint initiative of RCBI and TechConnect West Virginia, made possible by funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the State of West Virginia. The program allows companies to access manufacturing technology assistance at RCBI – from the initial innovative concept through computer-aided design, reverse engineering, prototyping, fabrication and machining so the companies can take their finished products to market.

Through the InnovateWV funding, RCBI’s experienced staff helped the company design the prototype, then create it on a 3D printer. Creating the prototype on a 3D printer was less time consuming and less costly than making it with more traditional, subtractive machining, Nelson said. The prototype is also much lighter, making it easier to transport and show to customers, who can then visualize the finished product and how it can be customized.

“We are able to take it to the customer and say, ‘This is what you would be buying,’” Nelson said.   

When the company was considering the purchase of a CNC milling center, Becker/SMC employees came to RCBI to observe one in operation, machining one of their products, Bolton said. He also has taken classes presented by RCBI.

Nelson and Bolton said they recommend the services of RCBI to other companies, especially when it comes to quality certification.

“We told them, ‘Don’t spin your wheels. Don’t try this on your own. Call RCBI,’” Nelson said.