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DSW, or Dixie Saw Works, began as a converting knife company in 1943. With over 6 decades of steady business the company was bought out in 2004 by the current owner, Chris McIlvaine. Over the course of a couple years Chris decided that he wanted internalize as many processes as possible to reduce cost. After shopping around for different cutting machines he decided to go with a water jet. Purchasing the water jet gave us the ability to cut down on lead times for the blanks we use with the converting knife part of the company while also lowering the cost. He also quickly realized that having a water jet also gave us the possibility to begin outsource cutting which rapidly outgrew the knife shop in profitability. With the realization that outsourced cutting was so valuable, DSW Cutting was born. While continuing to service the converting knife customers, Chris began investing more into the cutting industry with the promise of great service, quick lead times, and high quality.
DSW was solidified in the Birmingham cutting industry when we purchased our first laser cutter. Being much quicker and more precise than the water jet allowed us to decrease cost while increasing quality for our customers. Once we optimized the capacity of the laser, we strategically purchased another laser and a plasma cutter. Purchasing this new equipment allowed us to keep up with the new customer demand in the cutting industry. To progress from there, we purchased a hydraulic 12 ft press brake to give customers the ability to purchase cut and formed parts. We have been working hand in hand with our machine vendors to ensure we are getting the highest quality machines on the market. With our vendor's assistance we have grown our capacity to four fiber laser cutters paired with a 16 tray automation tower, two hi-def plasma cutters, two water jet cutters, three press brakes, a part deburring machine, and a robotic welder. The capacity that we have grown into has given us the ability to service the southeast with the quickest lead times in Birmingham while still providing the highest quality part with the best pricing.
Because of all of this growth we had to move from our original 20,000 sq ft facility to our new facility. Located in the Industrial District downtown, the new facility is a robust 85,000 sq ft and a convenient conveniently located of the 31st street exit off I-20. A good location that is easily accessible and close to home was a necessity for Chris when he was looking for the new facility. Being centralized around so many other manufacturing cities allows DSW to provide parts all over the southeast. Because of that, in just two short years we maximized and optimized our new facility. The only way to grow from there was to purchase the lot next door which contained warehouse space and extra office space. DSW has been approved by the city for a $1.2 million expansion which will begin in 2020. The expansion will connect the current shop with the newly acquired warehouse space. The additional space will increase our ability to maintain the level of service we are committed to. With the new expansion we will have roughly 130,000 sq ft which will allow us to enhance our work flow and add necessary processes to improve our continuously improving quality. Remaining in downtown Birmingham has been integral for the growth of DSW. Being a front runner of the revitalization in the Industrial District has given us the ability to give back and help Birmingham grow into the steel city that it once was.
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