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1015 East Sixth Street
Anaconda, MT 59711

Purchasing and Accounting Take Their Show On the Road
An article from The Monthly Grind - March 2000 A Newsletter of Holnam, Inc.Trident Montana
by Val Aughney

During February, Jim Owen, Merrill Arbuckle, Bill Mack, and Val Aughney made day trips to vendors. The visits were to facilitate understanding and promote positive relationships with key personnel at AFFCO, Northwest Industrial, and Motion Industries.

The group first traveled to AFFCO located in Anaconda, Montana. AFFCO's facility resides in the original Anaconda Copper Company Foundry. Don Clark, General Manager, and Dave Bisch, Sales Manager, conducted a tour of their metal fabricating business. The group observed five pours for ore car wheels commissioned by the Stillwater Mine in Nye, Montana. In another storehouse was Trident's inert gas system tank being dried after its distinctive green paint job.

The group was impressed with the technical skills of AFFCO's work force. From the mixing of metals in the lab, to the transportation of molten metal as it was poured from swinging crucibles overhead into mold, it was evident these employees knew their stuff. A highlight of the tour was observing two employees (long past retirement) in the confines of their beautiful wood and brick workroom, circa 1889. Stepping back in time, the group watched them turn knotless pine from Oregon, into wooden molds for the first step in the forging process. This is a lost art, as explained by Don and Dave, only a few individuals in this country are still capable of this type of craftsmanship. A patternmaker must invert every design and painstakingly recreate it in wood. This was a complex idea for us as outsiders. When our group mentioned the use of computers we were told, "that computers weren't there yet".

At one point, we were amazed to find ourselves in a four-story warehouse that stored every mold ever made by AFFCO, from the very earliest days of Butte mining history, truly a history buff's gold mine. One large section on the first floor was dedicated to Holnam patterns.

AFFCO provides a valuable service to Holnam and the mining industry. They produce and fabricate materials that Trident can't do, nor anyone else in the area is capable of, with their unique expertise. A valuable business meeting preceded the tour in their company conference room.

Later in the month the group traveled to Billings to visit two suppliers: Northwest Industrial Supply, and Motion Industries. The group had a tour of both facilities. Both are major suppliers to Holnam, and the group familiarized themselves with their warehouses and their business procedures.

They were warmly received by these companies and feel these meetings are an integral part of Holnam's way of doing business. This group may continue to visit various vendors, helping cement our business relationships.

Web Note: AFFCO customers are always welcome to visit AFFCO to tour the facilities, inspect their products, meet with the personnel and become familiar with all of the many capabilities and manufacturing skills of the company..