Muncy Industries churns out useful products

At Muncy Industries, time-tested products put to good use are being turned out every day.

And all the work is done out of a small machine shop just outside Turbotville.

“We call it heavy lifting hardware,” said James Fetter, company president.

The machine shop at the company’s headquarters at 5820 Susquehanna Trail buzzes with activity, with workers engaged in drilling and milling and cutting to make aluminum and steel fittings for bridges, structures, and wire rope assemblies.

“We build things,” Fetter said. “We contribute. We don’t consume.”

Fetter proudly reveals some of the fittings and pieces his machine shop has produced for projects over the years, including Madison Square Garden and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and London Olympic Stadium and the Denver International Airport.

He pointed to a map of the world, revealing worldwide markets for his company’s products.

“We are global,” he said.

The family owned business, which includes Fetter’s wife, Ophelia, and sons, Justin and Jason, who works out of the Houston office, operates two shifts.

The Turbotville location’s warehouse houses up to 240 tons of steel, according to Justin.

“Most of it is U.S. made,” he said.

The company’s jobs are both big and small.

“We are making something special for someone in a hurry,” his father said. “We are making something standard.”

Despite some of the interesting projects that the company has been involved with, Muncy Industries, for the most part has flown under most people’s radar screens.

“Mostly, we have a low profile,” Fetter said. “Nobody knows what we do.”

Fetter’s grandfather, Charles Kanz, got it all started when he launched Muncy Machine and Tool in 1949.

Upson-Walton Co., Cleveland and Newco Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo., were founded later.

According to the company website, the companies started close to wire rope mills with each company focusing on products that included wire rope terminations, swage sockets, spelter sockets, button ferrules, flemish eye sleeves, and aluminum turnbacks.

Through the years, product offerings include dynamometers, wedge buttons, sheaves, solid wire rope thimbles, roll-off hooks, and stainless duplex sleeves.

“We found Muncy Industries which is our distribution company for our producing companies,” Fetter said.

Forty employees, most of them engaged in actual manufacturing, are employed at the Turbotville site, along with three engineers who busy themselves with design work of the products.

Ophelia said the employees are hardworking and loyal.

Fetter said he’s hired plenty of local people, including those with agriculural backgrounds, from the surrounding rural area.

“You don’t have to teach them how to work,” he said.

Most recently, he said business has been what he termed as “flat” for his business, mostly due to the economy. He also blamed oppressive government regulations and burdensome taxes, including the state’s 9.9 percent corporate net income tax.

“We keep adding product lines,” he quickly added.