Apollo Machine & Welding Ltd.: Bonding Precision and Efficiency Together

Alberta is Canada’s major producer of oil and natural gas, and many of the surrounding areas depend on these resources for more than just heat and fuel. Apollo Machine & Welding Ltd. (AMW) is a local, privately owned company nestled in the heart of the Edmonton’s oil patch that assures companies in the area and far beyond have the resources needed to avoid disruption in operations.

Robert Norton incorporated AMW in 1971 with very little; he worked out of a 300-square foot shop with a rented lathe. However, Norton’s greatest asset during the early days was his vision. Norton knew he wanted his company to be based where his children would grow up, he knew he wanted a company that would stand the test of time by supporting the best employees, technologies and practices, and his belief and strategic partnerships throughout the years have allowed AMW to grow steadily.

In order to pursue this dream, Norton knew he needed a team that could keep up, and that is just what he achieved. Laurence Willis, CEO of AMW, joined the team in 1973, when the company had only three other employees. In 1977 Lawrence Zarb came on board as CNC programmer as AMW introduced one of the first CNC lathes into Alberta.

Norton, Willis and Zarb formed a magical partnership that has lasted 40 years, and AMW has gone from those three employees to over 250 employees housed in two facilities: a 110,000-square foot shop in Edmonton, as well as a 45,000-square foot facility in Leduc, Alberta. Wayne Norton, Robert’s son and the current president of AMW, started in 1992, and has since been groomed to be the successor to the company’s management, carrying on a proud legacy.

Experienced Staff and Custom Tools

This dedication to the AMW mission is proof of good management’s trickle-down effect. The company’s employees, as well as its steady group of subcontractors, are secure in the knowledge that AMW is one the best manufacturing and welding companies in the area. The company continually provides thorough training programs and competitive pay and benefits though AMW’s ultramodern facility is enough to make any machinist want to submit a resume.

Potential and returning clients alike have come to expect the same level of support and attention from AMW, and the company does not disappoint. AMW works on what each customer requests, and executes all of the specifications that go along with that request. The standards of the industry are demanding, and AMW strives to surpass the status quo. In order to uphold its mission, the company’s production inventory consists of a few basic models of tools for directional drilling, flow measurement and flow control.

While AMW’s preferred products require exact and specialized processes, the company’s seasoned staff is able to apply its expertise to manufacture tools with precision and efficiency. The Edmonton facility handles the lion’s share of the oilfield parts manufacturing, including gun drilling, trepanning, anodizing, shot peening, all phases of grinding, manual lathes and mills, manganese and zinc phosphate coatings, anodizing, computer numerical control (CNC) milling and turning.

Laser-like Focus on the Offshore Industry

The company’s Leduc shop is where Apollo-Clad Laser Cladding (ACLC), a division of AMW, and the inside/outside diameter CNC laser cladding machines are located. AMW’s Leduc shop is where ACLC manufactures high-performance tools designed to withstand severe environments. Each of these tools and parts are created using laser cladding, laser heat treating and laser welding.

Laser cladding involves melting metallic powder and a base together using a laser as the heat source, which creates a coating for the existing material and strengthening both metals. The process of laser cladding starts with the metallic powder being injected into the system via coaxial or lateral nozzles. Once the stream of powder and laser connect, a melting pool occurs.

The melted material is then deposited onto a base, which moves around to provide an even coat and then solidifies with a mechanical bond and a very small heat-effected zone. The cladding method is used to improve corrosion resistance as well as repair worn out parts and fabricate new metal matrix composites. AMW has found this to be an indispensable feature of the company’s repertoire of services as well as a method that benefits AMW clients.

Laser cladding coating comes in handy, especially in the field of offshore drilling. According to Wayne, approximately 70 percent of AMW’s business is for export. “We work with oil and gas companies all over the world, really,” Wayne admits. “If we get a request, we customize or build the part and get it to them as soon as possible and done right the first time.

One of the added benefits of dealing mostly with offshore business is that the recent economic fluctuations didn’t affect AMW’s revenue on a major level. While Wayne recognizes the effect that the downturn had on both the Ontario community and its business, he is secure that AMW will not suffer similarly due to the company’s high level of efficiency. The company’s connections in the oil and gas industry also assisted in AMW emerging from the economic slump in a better condition than its competitors.

“We do work with some companies in Canada, but at this point it’s mostly export.,” maintains Wayne. AMW’s clients can trust that regardless of where the tools are being shipped to each will arrive exactly as specified. By using this method of bonding customer service with detail-oriented efficiency, Apollo Machine & Welding Ltd. hopes to continue growing and supplying tools created with exact specifications to oil and gas companies across the globe.