From pharmaceuticals to mining to pet food, industrial sieves are used across manufacturing to separate dry particles and particulates.
Advantech Manufacturing in New Berlin specializes in making industrial test sieves, sieve shakers and sieve accessories for more than 30 industries.
The company was recently featured on The Fox Business Network television show “Manufacturing Marvels,” which showcases the work of manufacturers across the country.
Advantech’s sieves are used to separate pellet, ground, granular and powdered materials.
Often, a sieve is placed in a machine called a sieve shaker, which uses air to separate fine materials. The company makes shakers for its sieves in industrial and table top sizes, as well as a more precise sonic sifter.
The sieves are made to American Society of Testing and Materials International standards. The products are tested for opening size to a maximum standard deviation to assure accuracy.
“Every end product of a dry particle mix has a different mix of sizes within their formula,” said president Jim Lang.
Advantech makes about 900 different products in its 34,000-square-foot facility, with varying metals, diameters, heights and components.
There are 65 different mesh sizes, based on particulate size. Employees match the mesh with serialized sieve skirts to confirm they match correctly, said Tony Romano, vice president and general manager.
The mesh is soldered to the skirt, then attached with a crimping tool to the circular metal frame. After the mesh has been sealed, the completed part goes to the buffing area to be shined, Romano said.
It is then cleaned and the serial number is engraved. The serial number identifies when the part was made and allows the company to track problems in the manufacturing process, he said.
The sieves are put through quality control, inspection and calibration to ensure they meet ASTM standards, then inventoried and shipped.
“For a small company, we have some pretty high-tech equipment,” said Lori Wessel, office administrator.
Most of Advantech’s customers are within a 50-mile radius, but its parts are shipped globally.
The company was founded in 1970. Jim Lang took ownership in 1988 and has modernized its production practices since then.
Advantech is No. 2 in the sieve market domestically. Sieves are a niche market, where Advantech sets itself apart through quick delivery times and personalized service, he said.
The company can turn a product order around in one day, even if it’s not on the shelf, Lang said.
“The challenge is to differentiate yourself,” he said. “The quality must be impeccable.”
In 2002, Advantech acquired a machine shop and added the services to its offerings. CNC machining, turning and milling now make up 30 percent of the company’s business.
The machining capabilities have also allowed Advantech to begin producing components for its machines in house.
Advantech’s revenue grew about 15 percent from 2011 to 2012, Lang said. He has an unsettled outlook for 2013 because the sieve industry slowed down in the first quarter. A sluggish mining industry will have an impact on Advantech, he said.