Caid Industries Shop Visit

The family business is making it into the big time


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The Experience

On our spring visit to Tucson, as part of a 60th anniversary celebration of T.A. Caid and Sons being in business, I was invited to attend a tour of the current manufacturing facility. More information on Caid Industries can be found on their web site. It had been 10+ years since I had see the facility and it was nothing like I recall. In the old days, the business was in downtown Tucson, near the railroad station on 4th Avenue. But, in the 70's, increased business forced a move to a much bigger facility on the south side of town near the airport. The airport location is still in use today.

The photos below are what we saw.

Cube land. While very familiar in most businesses today, when I was growing up, the "front office" consisted of 3 desks in an open area and 2 private offices. This is a far cry from the shop on 4th avenue. Back then, the most complex technology in the place was the adding machine the accountant used.

Note the conference table. The walls have photos of past jobs.

Photos of past jobs on the wall.

A large metal shear.

Large bed laser cutter.

A detailed example of the scope of materials and thickness that the laser can cut. Note the Caid logo cut into the stainless steel.

Laser in use cutting thick steel plate.

Laser control console. But will it play my PSP games too?

A press brake for bending metal.

Stainless steel burner assemblies. Heavy and complicated.

Getting a little overtime.

Heavy duty traffic light standards under construction. "Hopelessly over designed" according to one welder.

The finished product. The end plates are over 1" thick steel plate that was cut with a plasma cutter.

This is a large, complex component.

Robert (Bob) Caid, my father. He was the GM and MFIC for many years, retired in the 70's.

Nancy Zelenack (my sister) and Callie Caid.

The author.

A Caid conference.

One of the assembly bays.

Another assembly bay.

The facility uses large amounts of specialized welding gasses including argon, helium, oxygen and CO2.

Large storage tank for oxygen.

Helium storage tanks.

Trailer and housing for large, transportable electrical assembly under construction.

Cut scrap produced by a job in progress. This was produced by a plasma cutter.

The bad boy in action. The material being cut is very thick special abrasion resistant steel used as part of a high importance job.

External staging area for raw materials and scrap.

One of the large cranes at the facility.

The other large crane. This one is big.

Examples of precision work done at the cathode facility.

A custom table in the cathode facility. Note the Kokopelli table ornament which was made with the laser cutter.

An ariel view of the facility before the major expansion.

A view of the full machine shop that supports the cathode operation.

Material handling equipment used to move the cathode plates.

The leveling machine insures that the cathodes have a flat surface to allow for the best electro deposition of copper on the cathodes.

Preparing part of the cathode assembly.

Machining components of the cathodes.

Cathode plates.

Dissimilar metal welding station on the cathode assembly line.

Copper bars used as the "spine" of the cathode.

Boy, things have sure changed in the business since I was a kid. The old shop was in a Quonset hut that was left over from WW II. The new facility is fully state of the art designed for both high throughput manufacturing of cathodes to high quality custom work with exotic metals. My how times change. It was an honor to be able to tour the facility. Kudos to Bill Assenmacher and his team for growing the company to its current success.

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