A Passion For Products

May/June, 2011


Lights-out laser automation sets the pace for higher production

Passion, it’s what sets one company apart from another and leads to great products, ideas and going the extra mile to deliver quality parts.

At Midland Metal Products, the company’s founders, and now the fourth generation owners, exude it.

Midland Metal Products has been around for 90 years, mentions B.J McDonald, facilities manager. “The business was started by my great-grandfather, the Zidek family, in New York City. He was a handyman doing metal fabrication. Later the company relocated to Chicago, producing wire-based products using a few spot welders and manual wire benders. Slowly they integrated sheet-metal products that we would consider commodities today, such as baskets, lampshade frames and fan guards.”

In time the company refocused and developed a niche market in point-of-purchase display systems and changed the name to Midland Metal Products.

Midland started producing displays in the 1920s when it supplied potato-chip-clip racks to the Jay’s Company of Chicago. “We did bubblegum and check-out display racks until about the 1980s,” says McDonald.

By convincing R. J. Reynolds that the company could produce the necessary quantities of overhead cigarette merchandisers, Midland grew exponentially.

While producing these merchandisers, they had to develop expertise in other systems, such as welding, punching and working with tubing. Knowing that they couldn’t do this in a relatively small area, the company moved in 1984 into its current 110,000-sq.-ft. location with approximately 75 full-time employees. When display production increases, they add contract employees to fill the gap.

Keeping Pace

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