From metal sculptures to metal fabrication
In its community, TMM Precision supplies more than just sheet metal parts.
In 1975, ARMY veteran Alan Speert could be found designing decorative metal artwork at home in Tucson, AZ. As his wife, Marilyn Speert remembers, “He was always making metal sculptures in the carport with the cat on his lap!” His work was well-received at local craft fairs and soon, Alan’s hobby became a way of life. The duo founded The Metal Man, Inc. and opened a retail store with space for customers to watch Alan weld his creations. As it became more established, The Metal Man began selling wholesale and moved into the 10,000 ft.2 facility it occupies today.
Alan explains, “We worked hard to make a living but in 1998, we were introduced to TRUMPF and laser cutting, and suddenly things began to change.”
Intrigued by the technology and the cleanliness of laser processing, Alan and Marilyn invested in a TRUMATIC L 2530. “We bought it to cut decorative forms, but then people approached us for fabrication work and we transitioned into TMM Precision,” Alan explains. “We enjoyed staying home in Tucson, offering our job shop services to the community.” With an unmistakable devotion to their neighbors, it is not surprising that TMM Precision’s first customer as a job shop is still a loyal client today.
Defining a business
With a steady stream of laser cutting orders, the couple was eager to add bending to the company’s repertoire. “Our first TRUMPF press brake performed well and we loved it. We eventually upgraded to a TruBend 5085 because the longer bending length gave us the ability to bend any part we could cut,” says Marilyn. TMM Precision also recently purchased a TruBend 7036 and TruLaser 1030 fiber to “complement our existing equipment and allow us to divide the workload,” as Marilyn explains.
As a job shop, the company sees a wide variety of applications including aftermarket truck parts, lighting fixtures, frames for telescopes, motorcycle components, and electrical enclosures. Alan even carries a titanium money clip, produced by TMM Precision and given to him by the happy customer. “We never know what will come through the door. It’s challenging and we enjoy it,” says Alan. He especially loves taking an idea a customer brought in on paper and recreating from sheet metal. “One special project was a sign we helped design to commemorate a team of firefighters who had passed away. It was a work of love, not business and we were honored to donate that piece.”
TMM Precision is able to process anything from prototypes to thousands of parts at a time. Alan states, “We have two lasers and two press brakes, and all are busy. The machines are highly reliable and we are very happy.” The TruLaser 7036 or “the little guy” as Marilyn calls it, bends small parts while the TruBend 5085 is used for large parts and thicker materials. For laser cutting, parts under 0.25 in. are processed with the TruLaser 1030 fiber while thicker materials are cut with “the workhorse”, or TruLaser 2525.
More than metal fabrication
Alan and Marilyn Speert credit TRUMPF technology as an important part of their success. “Our business was built with TRUMPF’s help. When we tell people we use
TRUMPF machines, they recognize we invested in great equipment, and that has definitely earned us new business,” states Alan. Not only do the owners pride themselves on delivering parts on time and of high quality, they also provide exceptional customer service. As Marilyn confirms, “The relationships we build with our customers are very important to us. We look to accommodate all needs and never refuse a job because it is a short run or small project.”
Fabrication work, which also includes welding, machining, and secondary processing, keeps the company’s twelve employees busy, yet Marilyn and Alan always find time to support their community. “We work with a racing club at the University of Arizona – Marilyn’s alma mater,” says Alan. “Students design car parts and we donate the materials and laser time. They are incredibly bright and often surprise us with what they create.” Alan and Marilyn also feel the same way about the robotics team they work with from the local high school.
With all the work being done at TMM Precision, Alan has yet to complete a decorative metal piece he designed years ago with Marilyn. Lightheartedly he explains, “I promised my wife a sculpture for the house, but never get around to making it. I guess now I’ll have to get it into the schedule!”
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in Spring 2014.