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Blanchard Machinery Unveils New Set of Iron Services

Tue February 19, 2013 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

One of the South’s top equipment dealers, as well as a premier machine parts supplier and service provider, has announced that it has opened a new shop designed to service all types of machinery in a more efficient manner.

Blanchard Machinery, headquartered in Columbia, S.C., has long served as the Palmetto State’s leading construction equipment dealer and repair facility. It is known primarily as the state’s premier Caterpillar dealer.

Now, by creating a new state of the art Machinery & Hydraulic Services department, the firm aims to compete with other top machine shops in the state.

The linchpins of Blanchard’s newest division are the half-dozen new Computer Numerical Control (CNC) precision machines that the firm recently purchased. Made by Rottler Manufacturing in Kent, Wash., the new equipment employs computer programs that can provide an array of machining and repair services.

According to Stacy Smith, the operations manager of Blanchard’s Machinery & Hydraulic Services, the firm is marketing its expertise to all industries.

“With the added capabilities from our existing shop, we can service any industry that needs us” he said. “That includes construction equipment, manufacturing companies — really anyone with a machine that needs work. We can accommodate any type of machinery.”

Smith added that the new CNC equipment has made machine work much more efficient and trims the down time for customers.

By employing the new tools, Blanchard has not hired any new people, but has instead moved underutilized personnel to the new department, according to Chris Pierson, vice president of Product Support at Blanchard.

“We had an existing machine shop with some outdated equipment so we felt that by updating the equipment and just marketing to everybody we felt the market would support that,” he said.

The result has been that Blanchard has built a second shop just yards from its older facility. The new 6,000 sq. ft. building houses the CNC equipment, and together, the two structures make Blanchard’s expanded shop facilities one of the Southeast’s largest.

The new shop is located at 3151 Charleston Highway in West Columbia. The telephone number is 1/800-922-2790.

“One of the great benefits of the new machine shop is that we will continue to offer competitive pricing,” Smith said, adding “the new shop isn’t just limited to heavy machinery repairs or Cat engines. We can do just about any metal work that needs to be done.”

Currently, the new shop employs five people, but Pierson believes that as the market grows for their services, the company will bring on more personnel.

“Right now, we are just getting into this and taking small steps,” he said.

Blanchard took possession of the CNC equipment back in October and saw its Machining and Hydraulic Services department become fully operational around the end of November.

Although based in Columbia, Blanchard has 14 locations spread across the state. With its extensive transportation, parts and service network, including a free nightly shuttle service between branches, Smith said that customers can drop off a part at any of the company’s locations and he will have it to work on by the next morning.

Once the part or piece of equipment is in the new shop, Smith and his crew have the experience to make all repairs and rehab work quickly and to their customer’s satisfaction, he said.

His people also augmented their years of expertise with new training from Rottler on how to work with the CNC equipment, Smith said.

“With these machines being fully automated, we are able to get the CNC process going, walk away from the machine and come back when it is finished,” he said. “Our guys are expert in seeing that it all runs smoothly.”

Blanchard Machinery has been South Carolina’s top dealer of Caterpillar equipment since 1982. The family-owned company offers a wide range of Cat and non-Cat brands of equipment, from full-sized bulldozers to small machine parts.

The company’s six divisions include Blanchard Compact Equipment, Heavy Equipment, Ironmart, Pioneer Recycling & Forestry, Blanchard Power Systems and Blanchard Rental Services.

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