FPM Heat Treating - Heat Treating Solutions/Service Company

FPM Heat Treating: An institution of Heat-Treating Technology and Innovation

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Jim Feltner, VP, FPM Heat Treating Jim Feltner, VP Ancient alchemists believed in the ability of fire to transmute metals and other materials by altering their innate nature and properties. In many ways, present-day heat treating can be regarded as an evolution of this notion, helping create reinforced metals for many applications. Despite this versatility, the fundamental nature of heat-treating equipment has not changed much over the years. The only thing that has changed is the controls. As far as the equipment and the processes are concerned, only minor improvements were made over the years. In this scenario, experience is a crucial differentiator for reaping the best value from heat treating. Having been in the heat-treating industry for nearly four decades, FPM Heat Treating is a veteran-organization in this field. As one of the Midwest’s largest heat-treating specialists, the company offers a complete spectrum of heat-treating processes to serve its broad customer base across various markets. According to Jim Feltner, VP at FPM, this success is a result of the company’s unique culture. “The success of FPM is centered around identifying key employees. I believe we are really good at putting people in the right positions to be successful in their own right. This is what makes a successful company,” says Feltner.

Feltner himself has been a lifelong heat treater. His family started FPM, an acronym that stands for Feltner, Perrone, and Manseau. Working from the ground up, he understood what it means to be part of a company that puts quality first. From working on the floor to the little things involved in upkeeping to sales and operations, a clear understanding of the business at a granular level helped Feltner carry on the FPM tradition and make it more successful.

Critical Capabilities to Meet All Heat-Treating Needs

From its inception in 1978, FPM has been offering free pickup and delivery services to its clients in the Midwest markets, particularly in the Chicago area, which was a big deal for their customers and, at the time, was one of the first to do so.

Today, FPM’s core strengths include annealing, normalizing, neutral hardening, tempering, age/precipitation hardening, stress relieving, tool-steel hardening, vacuum hardening, vacuum high-pressure gas quenching, austempering, marquenching, carburizing, carbonitriding, gas nitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC), brazing, deep freezing, straightening, and blast cleaning. Feltner mentions that FPM was one of the first to offer these solutions for the tool and die market.

FPM also owns the North American license to Nitrotec, a nitriding-oxidation-protection process that provides a highly corrosion and wear-resistant finish. This treatment eliminates the time and handling needed for secondary plating operations and allows for lower-priced carbon steel in place of alloyed steels.

It is an environmentally friendly alternative to many plating processes, delivering excellent scuffing and seizure resistance as well.

I believe we are really good at putting people in the right positions to be successful in their own right. This is what makes a successful company

In addition to these solutions, what truly sets FPM apart is the intimacy and personal touch they exert while working with their clients. The company is involved from the project’s infancy to the very end when they deliver the finished product. FPM works hand in hand with the customers to develop the exact heat-treating process that would best suit their needs—one that will make the client and their project successful. With years of heat treat experience on many levels and a staff of three metallurgical engineers, FPM will make sure that they have the right personnel involved from the project’s start. “Even before we talk about the heat treating, we want to discuss the best way to make the project and the customer successful. That is FPM’s number one priority,” states Feltner.

Feltner recalls FPM’s association with an up-and-coming company dealing with very high volume and critical applications that required unique heat-treating solutions. Facing several issues, the client approached FPM on the verge of losing a major project that they had planned on building the company around. FPM put together their full team to help this client and solve their issues in no time. “Our partnership is going on close to 10 years now,”states Feltner.

In another instance, one client had some issues with their employees, equipment, and overall costs. They went back and forth between the ideas of investing in heat-treating vs. their core competency, i.e., manufacturing. Ultimately, the client consulted FPM, and the company helped manage the client’s internal heat-treating operation. “Once they saw FPM’s attention to detail in processing and production consistency, the client allowed us to manage all of their internal and external heat-treating needs; this allowed our customer to focus more on their manufacturing capabilities and do what they are best at,” states Feltner.

Helping Clients Reroute around COVID-19 Disruptions

FPM closely monitors the market to figure out the next stages for expanding their business. For example, the growing interest toward EVs has prompted FPM to become more involved in the automotive sector. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election, there was a significant dip in the sector. This, however, did not make FPM falter. The company took the pandemic very seriously and powered through the challenges of being an essential business without compromising on safety. Being an exceptionally team-oriented company, FPM wanted to make sure that everybody was safe.

FPM was one among the few companies that made it mandatory to wear masks at an early stage of the pandemic, even before the state mandated them.

FPM also started taking precautionary measurements from day one. Their initial reaction to the medical community’s warnings of the pandemic was to implement employee screening upon arrival to the plant including temperature checks, and FPM took steps to improve sanitation on all shifts, train employees on current CDC Guidelines,and increase the number and use of handwashing and hand sanitizing stations in the facility.

In addition, FPM conducted constant training through their safety and environmental personnel on how to be safe and enforced contact tracing. FPM made sure to limit visitors to the facilities and only allowed one truck driver from another facility in the building at any given time. And they contacted every one of their customers that they collect products from and deliver to, ensuring that they coordinated procedures to keep the employees and customer base safe.

"Even before we talk about the heat treating, we want to discuss the best way to make the project and the customer successful"

In the wake and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, FPM notes that there is too much uncertainty in the field now, hampering production schedules and supply chains. By staying in constant contact with their customers, FPM is making sure that their customer’s needs are met.

Looking to the Future of Heat Treating in the New Normal

Being well connected all over the U.S. and especially in the Midwest, FPM still offers regular truck routes that run in between their plants and to customers. The company’s commitment to quality is second to none with being Nadcap approved in their Elk Grove Village location, the highest level of certification for quality standards in the heat-treating industry. “We pride ourselves on being held to a higher standard not only in day-to-day business but with maintaining our equipment to meet the rigorous requirements of Nadcap accreditation,” says Feltner. As the world confidently looks forward to a better 2021, FPM envisions to up their game. The company is making significant investments in putting new state-of-the-art controls in all their equipment. They have accelerated the process of furnace upgrades and process automation in material handling. Additionally, FPM is in the middle of completing a full consolidation and restructuring project of their Cherry Valley location. The company has made extensive capital investments for new equipment, processing resources, and furnace controls.

Having cultivated a family-oriented culture at the company, every individual at FPM believes that no one person is more important than the other. Each member of the team is continually training to make sure that they can back up one another. “Whatever job needs to be done, anybody in the company is willing and able to step up and do it in order to provide the best service to customers,” says Feltner. “We’re large for our industry, but we feel that we still maintain that small business attitude where you can reach anyoneat any time in our company,” he concludes.

- Laura Davis
    January 19, 2021
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Top 10 Heat Treating Solution Companies - 2020
FPM Heat Treating

FPM Heat Treating

Elk Grove Village, IL

Jim Feltner, VP

FPM Heat Treating is one of the most extensive commercial heat-treating companies specializing in various heat-treating processes in the United States. As one of the Midwest's largest heat-treating specialists, the company offers a complete spectrum of heat-treating processes to serve its broad customer base across various markets. According to Jim Feltner, VP at FPM, this success is a result of the company's unique culture