Garrison Steel: A Shift in Perspective

PeddiNews: Issue 69

In the ever-evolving landscape of industrial manufacturing, robotics has become a cornerstone of efficiency and productivity. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of welding, where precision and efficiency are paramount. As we step into 2024, we find Garrison Steel, a prominent player in structural steel fabrication and erection, at the forefront of this technological revolution. Through their partnership with Peddinghaus, they've embraced the PeddiAssembler, a robotic welding solution that has transformed their operations in ways they never imagined.


Efficiency Redefined

For Garrison Steel, the journey towards embracing robotics began with a realization of the limitations of manual operations. Cecil Osburne, Shop Supervisor at Garrison Steel, reflects on their initial hesitation to fully invest in automation. However, the allure of efficiency and productivity offered by the PeddiAssembler proved too compelling to ignore. He notes how the PeddiAssembler not only met but exceeded their expectations, replacing eight fitting stations with remarkable efficiency.


“The PeddiAssembler replaced eight fitting stations, and for the real estate that it’s taken up, it’s 80% more efficient than having 8 men working here.” This shift marked a turning point for Garrison Steel, cementing efficiency gains that were previously unimaginable.

The PeddiAssembler Advantage

The PeddiAssembler isn't just another piece of equipment for Garrison Steel; it's a force multiplier. Jason Garrison, Owner and President of Garrison Steel, highlights how it has streamlined their processes, providing good quality parts consistently without complaints or breaks. What's more, it has become a catalyst for growth, requiring them to hire more welders to keep up with its pace.

“The PeddiAssembler is without a doubt going to change our business model. It’s working through columns so quickly that we are going to have to pursue different types of work to keep it busy. It actually is fabricating columns quicker than we can provide drawings to the shop for columns. We’re trying to hire more welders to keep up with it.”


Jason emphasizes the machine's role in tripling their production over the last five years. He recognizes Peddinghaus' commitment to understanding their vision, fostering a partnership rather than merely selling a product. This partnership has not only addressed their immediate needs but has also paved the way for future growth and innovation.

“We communicated our vision to the Peddinghaus team and they provided solutions that were within our financial capacity at the time that got us closer to achieving our vision. And because of this, our financial capacity has grown over the years and now we’re able to look at different Peddinghaus equipment and more high-tech solutions. But they never try to sell me something that doesn’t align with our vision.”

A Paradigm Shift in Workforce Dynamics

While automation brings undeniable benefits, it also raises concerns about its impact on the workforce. Garrison Steel acknowledges the importance of skilled labor but recognizes the need to augment human capabilities with technology. The PeddiAssembler complements their workforce, allowing top talent to focus on complex tasks while the machine handles repetitive fitting and welding operations.

“Our vision was never to eliminate the need for human fitters, but rather to enhance our fitting capacity, allowing our best talent to focus on intricate pieces, while the PeddiAssembler handles simpler tasks. It's filling that vision rapidly, providing greater capacity without increasing labor, revealing operational bottlenecks, and operating efficiently without downtime. With our core group of talented fitters being like family, growing that group is challenging amidst a labor shortage. The PeddiAssembler aims to alleviate our reliance on scarce tradespeople, addressing our labor problem in a competitive industry.”

Justin Taylor, CWI/QA Manager at Garrison Steel, emphasizes the importance of investing in progressive technologies to stay ahead in the industry. He reflects on their journey from manual operations to embracing robotics, highlighting the significant improvements in quality and productivity along the way.

“The PeddiAssembler has taken over the fit-up of almost all the columns going through the shop. The 15% that are the most complicated we still fit manually. The columns passing through our shop were often the pieces where we exceeded the estimated manhours. This discrepancy occurred because our estimators base their bids on contract drawings, which may occasionally differ from our detailing standards. Consequently, we sometimes lack the necessary labor for columns.” Pointing towards the machine, “However, the PeddiAssembler is effectively addressing this issue by streamlining our operations. It has been performing operations that we would have 6-7 manhours in in 30-45 minutes. You don’t have to be a math whiz to understand the savings from a manhours standpoint.”

Safety First

Beyond efficiency and productivity gains, Garrison Steel prioritizes safety in their operations. Jason underscores how the PeddiAssembler and PeddiRotators have revolutionized their shop floor, eliminating hazardous manual operations and mitigating safety risks associated with material handling.


“Any time you take manual operations out of a fabrication shop, you’re going to be safer. The combination of Peddinghaus products that have helped safety the most are the PeddiAssembler and PeddiRotators. One of the most unsafe operations in any fab shop is turning material with an overhead crane. So our pieces come straight out of the PeddiAssembler fit and they go straight into rotators and you’re not turning pieces with overhead cranes and exposing people to the danger of that.”

Always Looking Toward the Future

As Garrison Steel continues to embrace innovation, they remain committed to their core values of quality, efficiency and safety. Their journey with Peddinghaus serves as a testament to the transformative power of technology when coupled with a progressive mindset and a commitment to excellence.


In the face of uncertainty, Garrison Steel stands as a beacon of resilience and adaptability, navigating challenges with unwavering determination and emerging stronger than ever. With the PeddiAssembler leading the charge, they are poised to conquer new frontiers and redefine the future of steel fabrication and erection in the years to come.

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