S&T boosts Iloilo’s metal industry

CURING of metal samples using the electroplating process at MAGS Pipe Bending and Steelworks.

IN A SMALL, busy street near Iloilo City’s wet market in Brgy. Rizal Estanzuela, City Proper stands MAGS Pipe Bending and Steelworks, a company engaged in metal works, custom-made products for processed food, hotel and restaurant services, medical services, furniture and furnishings, and automotive accessories.

“I started on working with basic metal works, furniture and automotive accessories. Now I can’t believe I am already producing for hospitals, hotels, restaurants and car shops in Western Visayas,” said MAGS owner Marlon G. Gascon.

MAGS is a pioneering firm in electroplating business in Western Visayas. The company started in 1995 by doing pipe bending with three employees. Through the years, the enterprise expanded its operation and now employs 30 employees.

For expansion, the company ventured into electro-chemical plating of stainless-steel items. The company adopted a technology on electroplating from Department of Science and Technology Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) to address its difficulty to mechanically clean and polish corner points of the work pieces. The technology significantly improved productivity and quality of work on top of savings from consumables and working time.

“I was already a member of the Metals Industry Association of the Philippines (MIAP) and a beneficiary of DOST trainings on metal products when I asked DOST about electroplating and it interests me. I associated it since I am already producing automotive accessories and I thought of restoring easily timeworn parts especially tire mags,” Gascon said.

Through the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program Innovation System Support Fund (SETUP-ISSF) program in 2007, the company purchased equipment for electroplating process.

Electroplated metal samples from MAGS Pipe Bending and Steelworks.

With the help of the additional technology and the first and only in Western Visayas in 2007, electroplating is not only limited to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) but extends to large scale business and industries, especially for production plants and manufacturers.

“Electroplating does not only improve the aesthetics of the product but also preserve rust-adapting equipment used in production, giving quality end results,” Gascon added.

Moreover, since the market demand had increased, the company under the same program with the project dubbed “Productivity and Quality Improvement of Locally Manufactured Food Service Equipment and Outdoor Furnitures,” also availed of one hydraulic guillotine shearing machine and one hydraulic pipe bender in 2012.

“It’s just like a trial and error method as well since it cannot be perfected in one try. I also consider the cost of the material since I want to produce quality outcome and I don’t have hesitations in choosing them,” Gascon said.

With the acquisition of the hydraulic guillotine shearing machine they were able to produce precise cuts that enabled them to reach out to enterprises that they never catered to before. The hydraulic pipe bender could produce clean bend and also supports the guillotine shear to avoid production bottleneck.

The firm also availed of a CNC Press Break as part of their third project in 2017 – Manufacturing Productivity Extension (MPEX) Program, Cleaner Production Technology Program and Training on 5S – to attain improved product quality, productivity and increased sales, which in turn sustained the employment in the community.

The technology interventions extended to MAGS also resulted in the increase of its production capacity, decrease in production cost and increase in its market share. As a beneficiary of various DOST services, the company experienced a steady growth and is now providing employment to many people.

“I am grateful to DOST for sharing me the knowledge on electroplating process. The technology was an important breakthrough of my 15 years in the metalworking industry,” shared Gascon. (DOST6/KMU/J. R. A. Gabiota)