More than a century ago, James Duer and John Dickey Culbertson established Duer Spring and Manufacturing Co. Just northwest of Pittsburgh in McKees Rocks, P.A., Duer Spring produced a variety of stamping, flat rings and heavy hot steel springs. Back in 1896, McKees Rocks – also called “The Rocks” – became a town known for its iron and steel interest.
By the 1940s, the company’s torch had been passed on to John D. Culbertson Jr. and then to John D. Culbertson III. From 1951-55, Mr. Culbertson III served as the fourth president of the Spring Manufacturers Institute (then the Spring Manufacturing Association).
Performance & Practicality
In 1957, the McKees plant expanded to include lighter wire springs. By then, it was a regular procedure for Duer Spring to manufacture quantities of one to 1 million springs to customers hundreds of miles away. Sizes ranged from .010” wire springs to 2” hot-coiled sections.
Duer Spring became a division of Standard Steel Specialty Co. of Beaver Falls, Pa., in 1961. Machine tools, elevators, electrical equipment, valve and regulatory manufacturers used the company’s mechanical springs.
In 1967, Duer Spring moved to Coraopolis, P.A.. John “Jake” Miller Thornton, who began a career at Duer Spring as an engineer, eventually became president, retiring in the mid-1980s.
Mr. Thornton was also instrumental in the development of highly specialized springs used in the nuclear power generation industry.
Challenging Conventional Thinking
Throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, Duer Spring continued to expand. Economically sound, Duer Spring acquired the competitive operations of Carolina Coil Inc. in Greer, S.C. In 1997, led by visionary CEO Thomas G. Armstrong, Duer Spring separated its business unit from SSS to create Duer/Carolina Coil Inc. Operations were moved and consolidated in South Carolina.
Since the turn of the millennium, Duer/Carolina Coil has become a technology leader by heavily investing in its 130,000-square-foot facility in Spartanburg, S.C. Capital investments include a continuous large bar furnace; grinders; CNC coiler system upgrades; grinding, shotpeen and set removal cells; load and hardness tester; and a multidirectional Magnetic-Particle Inspection system.
A 40-day production cycle in the early 2000s was reduced to 5-7 days by 2012. Duer/Carolina Coil has implemented the continuous improvement practices of Kaizen, 5S, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Value Stream Mapping (VSM).
Producing the Finest Steel Springs
Today, Duer/Carolina Coil is organized around more than 20 business segments with customers in more than 20 countries. We remain a privately held company. Our roots are firmly planted in our commitment to skilled craftsmanship and purpose driven work.
Since 1896, Duer/Carolina Coil has met the most exacting requirements and needs of customers in every line of manufacturing. To learn more about our hot and cold wound spring capabilities, call us at 1-800-525-9067.