The Interview with Bob Kocher

The Interview with Bob Kocher

Bob has been in metalworking for 44 years. In his spare time he enjoys going to the dirt track and hunting. He also enjoys spending time with his grandkids and dogs.

Q: How long have you been at Imperial Systems?

Nine years. I’ve been doing metalworking for 44 years.

Q: Where did you start?

I started at a place in Sandy Lake, doing welding and fabrication. I was there for about 20 years, but then I got laid off there. I went to work at a place in Grove City that made testing equipment, and I was there for about 15 years. Got laid off again, found out this place was hiring, and filled out an application.

Bob Kocher doing metalworking at Imperial Systems

Q: What do you do when you’re not at work?

Watch my grandkids, cut wood, split wood… I like to go out to the dirt track and watch the races. My wife got me into that. Her father used to race.

Q: Anything else?

Well, I go hunting, like pretty much everybody around here. Didn’t see anything this year. Sometimes a couple of the neighbors will stop up and we’ll sit on the porch and talk.

Q: How many grandkids do you have?

I have three kids and four grandkids. The oldest is 22. Two of them are in the same class at school and people think they’re cousins, but people think they’re brother and sister.

Q: Any pets?

Yeah, I have three dogs.

Q: What else do you like to do?

That’s pretty much it. My life’s not very exciting. When I get home from work I mostly just feel like taking a nap. Especially when we get overtime and I come in early. That’s a little rough, but I’d rather come in early than stay late. I don’t like watching other people leave while I’m still here.

How do you like it here?

I like it. It’s a good place. It seems kind of crazy that this whole place is owned by one person. Most places, it’s a big corporation that owns it. Makes it kind of different here.

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Good Luck With That: To Tie, or Not To Tie?

Good Luck With That: To Tie, or Not To Tie?

  photo of Charlie MillerTony Bennet is into his nineties and still performing. He credits his popularity with the younger generation to the fact he wears a necktie. According to Tony, “You have to be different”.  He always was a sharp dresser. Dhani Jones, retired NFL linebacker, likes to rock a bow tie. He said, “Just because you wear a bow tie doesn’t mean you’re a Nerd”. After his NFL career, Jones found a charity organization called  “Bow Tie Cause” to raise money for various charitable causes. And  Rick Kaplan of “The Kaplan Report” says, “Wearing a bow tie is a statement, almost an act of defiance.”  These three men, all successful in unrelated fields, have something in common. They all like to wear neckties. But I fear this is no longer the norm today. The tie has gone the way of the Fedoras and Homburgs. In my younger days, a sharp-dressed man would never think of leaving home without one. Today they have been replaced with a ball cap.  It makes me fear the haberdashers are becoming extinct.

When I began my career as a draughtsman there was a dress code. We all wore ties at the drawing boards. The only problem was, I didn’t know how to properly tie a necktie. My tie knots always looked half done. Then one of the older draftsmen took me aside and showed me the proper way to tie a Windsor knot. I’m still grateful to him today for teaching me that life skill. Button-down shirts, neckties, and dress slacks were the mandatory dress code for much of my career. Later, when I moved into engineering sales, a sports jacket was also required on sales calls. It didn’t matter if it was the hottest day of the year, it was mandatory to wear a jacket when meeting with a client. I can remember one client visit made with my boss. When we arrived, he donned a Navy-Blue Blazer that was pulled from beneath the seat of his car. He called it his “Power Jacket”. He was the boss. Who was I to doubt the sales energy emitting from his garb?  Although it was not required in the office, many of the older sales engineers wore a sports jacket out of habit to work every day.

But somewhere in the mid-1980s, the dress codes changed. Jackets and ties were replaced by knit polo shirts with funny little logos embroidered on the left breast. Little griffins, or guys riding polo horses became the new norm. Neckwear became passé. A new generation was taking over the business world and with it, the dress codes were changing. And I changed right along with them. The comfort of polo shirts can seduce you, especially on hot summer days. Today neckties seem to be reserved for weddings, funerals, and maybe a holiday or two. I see a few older men like me that wear neckties to Sunday service. And except for a few individuals at the annual company Christmas party, I don’t think I have ever seen any of my coworkers wear a necktie.

Daper Dave sporting old fashioned clothesA few years back I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to change my persona. I wanted to turn back time to the early days. I started to wear a necktie into the office every day. At the time I only had a few ties that I wore to weddings, funerals, and the occasional special event. But then I started to collect them. One of my favorite comedians was the late Harry Anderson. He once said, “Neckties satisfy man’s desire to dress in artwork”. This I can agree with. I’ve collected ties over the last several years and their designs range from the beautiful to the truly bizarre. I now have over 400 neckties and a few bowties as well. They cover just about any gambit you can imagine. I acquired most of these in used clothing stores. I rarely pay more than a dollar or two for a necktie. There is a special thrill to score a Jerry Garcia original in mint condition for .99 cents at Goodwill.  My wife also scouts out unusual neckties for me. She has a flair for colors and patterns and when she finds something she knows I would like she picks it up. I even have a few friends who know of my fetish and occasionally bring me an unusual necktie they found.

Doctor Donald Wright, MD, MPH, is the former Head of Health Care Quality for OSHA. He is also a fan of wearing neckties. He said, “The more you look like an executive the better treated you are. It catches people by surprise.” Dhani Jones says, “When you wear a (bow) tie, doors open for you. Your posture is a little more erect. Your shoulders a little further back. It is all about the reestablishment of a gentleman.” I don’t disagree with either of these two men. I believe wearing a necktie adds to your professionalism. People notice you more when you wear a tie. This may be because tie-wearing has become so uncommon in today’s business environment.

But it could be that things are swinging back. I’m noticing more young boys wearing neckties to Sunday Services. Some high school athletic coaches are enforcing a dress code including neckties worn when their teams travel to other schools to compete. And I know of one young lad who liked to be a sharp-dressed tie wearer in his grade school years. When I see young boys wearing ties, I always comment on them because it makes you feel good to be complimented on your tie.

Of course, it is a personal preference to wear a tie. Going tieless does not diminish your skills in any way. Tiger Woods’ father once told him, “Just because you dress in a coat and tie doesn’t influence your intelligence”.  That is true. You can be very successful in life and never wear a tie. But I would leave you with the wisdom of ZZ Top, “Every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man”. If you don’t agree, well, good luck with that!

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Shadow Compact Fume Extractor Newsletter Feature

Shadow Compact Fume Extractor Newsletter Feature

This year at FABTECH, the new Shadow Compact Fume Extractor made its debut. With a huge demand in the market for a compact, low profile option for noncombustible dust, the Shadow definitely got a lot of attention. People looking for Imperial Systems quality at a lower price point are paying attention.

The Shadow is appropriate for indoor use only and for noncombustible dust. With premium filters it is equipped to handle applications like laser cutting, light loading weld fumes, and robotic welding. The Shadow may also be available for other applications; talk to us about your dust and we can determine whether this is a good choice for you.

Because the Shadow has been specifically designed for noncombustible dust, it is safe to install inside your facility. It doesn’t require any of the extra safety devices that are needed for combustible dust. Some applications will require a fully equipped CMAXX with fire protection. Feel free to get in touch to find out if your application is suitable for a Shadow.

Like the CMAXX, the Shadow will feature the new DeltaMAXX Prime filters. The Shadow includes anti‑ramp lift rails, which prevent filters from ramping over each other during installation. It also features a lift rail door stop system. This prevents the door from being closed unless the lift rails are locked in position. The Sure-Stop System adds an extra layer of protection, with a door indexing bar that interacts with the filter pans so the door can only be closed with filters in place.

Many of the features on the Shadow have been perfected on the CMAXX and now appear on its new, smaller cousin. The high quality DeltaMAXX Prime filters and the on-demand pulse cleaning make sure the Shadow runs just as efficiently and protects your facility from harmful dust and fumes.

The Shadow is backed by our 15 year limited warranty, and support is provided by our experienced ServiceMAXX team.

To learn more about the Shadow Compact Fume Collector, click here.

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FABTECH 2019 | Chicago

FABTECH 2019 | Chicago

FABTECH is exciting every year, but 2019 was a special one for all of us. First, this year we invited all of our Imperial Systems representatives to join us in Chicago for a yearly sales meeting, after which many of them joined us in the booth to meet potential customers.

Second, this year we introduced two brand new products, the Shadow Compact Fume Extractor and the DeltaMAXX Prime filter. Along with these new products, the booth also included two CMAXXs and several other products on display.

Imperial Systems booth at Fabtech 2019Despite Chicago unleashing some unpleasant weather on the first day of the show, everyone who attended agreed that FABTECH and the sales meeting were both great successes. Reps from all over the country joined us in the booth, and we met people from all over the industry and all over the world.

One of our team noted it was a great learning experience, getting to see industry products and innovations from around the world.

“Fabtech is always a great opportunity to see what other companies are doing in comparison to what we are,” aftermarket salesman Donovan Karki reported. “I felt that the best part was seeing all of our competitors crawling all over our innovation on our equipment because theirs is just the same as last year.”

Competitors and potential customers alike took note of the innovations. Tomm Frungillo, Director of Sales and Marketing, noted that the reps at the sales meeting were also excited about the new products, and about the direction of the company in general. Due to growth during the year, several new faces were present at the meeting, and everyone seemed to find it beneficial.

South Central Territory Manager Justin Ferrainola observed that “there was a lot of buzz from the new Shadow unit. People seemed to really like the overall design and look of it.”

The DeltaMAXX Prime also impressed people by fitting 400 square feet of media into a cartridge that’s still light and easy to handle. The Safety Pentagon drew attention by preventing any errors or accidents in filter installation. Redundant features prevent the doors from closing on incorrectly installed filters, making it nearly impossible for someone to install them in an unsafe manner.

Erin Long, Graphic Designer, appreciated the chance to see the products being offered by our competitors, and to get a feel for how they are marketing themselves. As we move forward as a company with our marketing efforts, knowing the competition will help us stay ahead of the game.

With so much attention and interest drawn to our booth this year, we feel like FABTECH 2019 was a great success and another step toward establishing ourselves as one of the industry’s most innovative manufacturers.

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CMAXX Cleans Up for High School Woodworking Program

CMAXX Cleans Up for High School Woodworking Program

We love working with trade schools and programs. We want to support young people as they discover a future in skilled trades. So, with many schools losing their vocational programs, we’re pleased to feature one high school woodworking program that’s making an investment in its future.

This particular school needed a dust collection system that could handle several different kinds of woodworking equipment at once. They also needed it to give them good filter life and strong fire and explosion protection. To fit all those things in a small footprint, a CMAXX dust collector turned out to be the right solution.

CMAXX dust collector protects students in high school woodworking program.This twelve cartridge CMAXX, sold through one of our representatives, features all the technology needed for safety and efficiency. This CMAXX acts as an in-line deflagration arrestor (IDA), meaning that it will stop a flame front from getting through. Explosion venting allows explosive force inside the collector to vent away safely from the building and people.

A Grecon spark detection and suppression system spots a spark in the ductwork and extinguishes it before it can cause a fire. An abort gate is also triggered by a spark or flame and will slam shut, diverting the fire in a safe direction.

Along with these fire safety features, the system includes an explosion isolation valve (EIV). An explosion automatically forces this device to close, stopping the explosion from traveling back into the building.

The filters used in this CMAXX are IDA nanofiber filters. The IDA filters allow the CMAXX to act as an in-line deflagration arrestor. They resist damage from a flame front and block it from passing onward. The nanofiber material will trap even the finest woodworking dust.

Tailored System for High School Woodworking Dust

Because woodworking dust applications may have different particle sizes, these filters also have overbags. These bags cover the filters and protect them from larger particles or abrasive material. This should give the school improved filter life and help save them money.

This system doesn’t have airlocks, because it doesn’t need them. Instead, it has two Rhino Drums. These drums replace an airlock by containing a fire, keeping it from traveling up into the collector. The Rhino Drum is grounded, has no motors or electrical wiring, and allows for easy drum emptying.

This CMAXX system also features a silencer to help control noise volume. Solenoid heaters keep the solenoids functioning in below-freezing temperatures. An integrated control panel is a handy feature that allows management of almost all the functions of the system to be from one control panel.

With the students back to their high school woodworking shop projects, they’ll have a fully equipped CMAXX system protecting them from any wood dust hazards.

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AWFS Fair Las Vegas 2019

AWFS Fair Las Vegas 2019

In July, Mitch and Justin from our equipment sales team attended the AWFS woodworking trade show. The show prides itself on being North America’s largest trade show for woodworking equipment, technology, and networking. While all this woodworking is exciting on its own, holding the event in Las Vegas certainly offered some interesting after-hours activities. “For me, the AWFS wood show was a lot more than getting to spend a few days on the Las Vegas Strip. The amount of automation and technology at this show was truly impressive,” said Imperial Systems representative Justin Ferrainola.

Woodworking is a major dust collection industry, and trade shows are a key opportunity to network, learn about new woodworking products, and talk to woodworking companies about their experiences with dust control. “It is fair to say that typically, Imperial Systems’ largest market has been in metalworking and fabrication. That being said, after visiting this show, my eyes were opened to the continuous growing demand for quality dust collection in the woodworking industry,” said Justin. The show drew lots of attendees, and our sales team had many opportunities to meet with potential new customers.

Hermance Machine Company made their first appearance this year at AWFS 2019.Hermance Machine Company, an Imperial Systems representative, made their first appearance at this trade show this year. Their booth displayed some of their woodworking equipment, including a robotic cutting display that received a lot of attention.  Hermance is a leader in industrial machinery for many different industries. The company has been manufacturing and selling equipment for the industry since 1902.

Dust collection in the woodworking industry continues to be a serious concern. Sawdust, wood pellets, and other wood waste are a major cause of dust fires. Many woodworking facilities need help designing a system to handle their wood dust safely. Many of these companies don’t know how many different options are available to them.

Our sales team travels to more trade shows every year to support our representatives and meet with industry leaders. With the CMAXX proving that cartridge collectors can be an excellent option for the woodworking industry, attending trade shows like this one helps us establish our presence and expertise. Many companies don’t know that cartridge collectors are an option for wood dust, so trade shows are a great opportunity to educate.

Get ready to see us at FABTECH in November, when we’ll have a full booth featuring the CMAXX, several of our other recently released products like the Rhino Drum, and even some exciting surprises we can’t talk about yet!

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