Sweed Hits the Road
A few times every year, we venture out from beautiful Gold Hill, Oregon to jet around the country for industry trade shows. At these multi-day meetings of companies and manufacturers from across the industry, we show off our innovative and high-quality designs while also learning about the kinds of issues our customers face to help us provide custom solutions that fit current needs. This year, we traveled to opposite corners of the country: in April we were in Los Angeles at the ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry) Annual Convention, and in May we flew all the way to Atlanta for the Interwire Trade Expo.
“Trade shows are great because we get face-to-face time with customers and potential customers,” says Kevin Gordon, Sales Director at Sweed. “Plus, seeing our machines in person helps people understand the breadth of our capabilities.” At both ISRI and Interwire, our focus was on marketing our wire chopping lines, and illustrating to the industry our growth toward providing large-scale systems. To that end, the main piece of equipment featured was the Mega Shredder, the primary machine in a bulk processing system. “We chose this machine because of its impressive size and obvious ability to process large volumes of bulk material – the head alone is 13,000 pounds!” Gordon explains. “We made sure to leave it open so that people could see inside the rotor and view the knives to help them visualize what it does and how it fits their needs.” That hands-on experience with the machine and opportunity for face-to-face time with Sweed team members makes trade show attendees more interested in utilizing our services, which is one of the main reasons we try to attend multiple shows every year.
We also travel to a variety of shows because each one has a distinct focus and draws different kinds of attendees. Many of the people who attend ISRI, for example, are scrap dealers and scrap yards, who use heavy-duty machines to process all types of material. Among these scrap dealers, everyone from maintenance operators to company presidents and owners attend. “It’s a great opportunity to speak to the employees operating and maintaining the equipment, as well as those largely responsible for making decisions to buy,” Gordon says. These people use our systems to remove the non-valuable insulation materials around copper and aluminum wire, which allows them to process and resell the clean metal scrap at a much greater profit compared to selling the accumulated product in bulk form.
The Interwire Exposition is a smaller gathering that consists of companies from around the world that manufacture wire and cable themselves as well as other companies that contribute to the wire-making process. “At Interwire, there’s no one else there who does what we do,” Gordon says. When these companies create off-spec wire in the manufacturing process, it often becomes unusable and they have to sell it as scrap. With a Sweed system, however, they can process this wire to recover the precious commodity, letting them keep the raw material in-house and reuse it to make more wire; this decreases their profit loss. “The customer base for this is small but growing. Many people at Interwire were very interested in what we had to offer, from both a bulk and a linear perspective” Gordon says. “We continue to make a major impact with our scrap choppers at this show.”
As demands in the recycling industry have grown, we have been working hard to cultivate our product line and increase the processing capacity of our machines. “We became well-known as a company that produces great smaller recycling systems, to accompany our linear scrap choppers” says Gordon. “At these trade shows, we want to show the industry that we can produce at any scale; there’s no limitation to the size or capacity of our machines.” By that measure, mission accomplished: the Mega Shredder at both shows created a lot of buzz, and Gordon has a huge amount of people interested in talking to him about how Sweed can help them with their processing needs.
With a full workflow, we won’t be at any more trade shows for our recycling equipment product line this year, but we’re already getting ready for ISRI’s big conference in Las Vegas that happens every other year (this year’s ISRI was the smaller one). “We always lease a large booth and bring down a truckload of equipment,” Gordon says. “We’re already making plans.”