Premier Furnace’s owner and president, Donald Selmi, founded the company in 1999 and first opened its doors for business in 2000. Selmi established Premier Furnace, initially leasing a small shop, and bought the company’s first building in 2002. More recently, the company expanded again and purchased an additional building in 2013. Today, Premier Furnace utilizes a combined total of 36,000 square feet of manufacturing space between the two facilities, located across the street from each other in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
“We’ve been growing exponentially over the last 17 years,” Selmi said. “Initially, most of our business was built simply upon our word-of-mouth reputation without much advertising at all. The satisfaction of our customers has made us extremely successful through the years. Our phenomenal growth can also be attributed to the efforts of our hardworking and dedicated employees, who have done an incredible job.”
Today, Premier Furnace Specialists employs about 25 people and serves numerous and diverse clients in the automotive industry, agricultural industry, wind turbine manufacturers, the oil and petrochemical industry, aerospace technology, as well as a large variety of smaller manufacturers with an international customer base.
Premier Furnace is known for its custom-designed new equipment and offers a complete catalog of furnace systems to serve the heat treating needs of these varied industries. This includes batch heating systems such as box designs, car bottom, tip-up, drop bottom, integral quench, pit type, slot forge, gantry/bell, and billet heating furnaces. Premier can also provide continuous furnace systems such as cast belt, mesh belt, pusher types, roller hearth, and walking beam designs. Ancillary equipment offered includes quench tanks, washers, gas generators, chillers, dryers, water systems, and material handling.
Premier’s customers utilize this equipment in a variety of heat treating applications including carburizing, carbon nitriding, hardening, tempering, annealing, stress-relieving, normalizing, austempering, brazing, sintering, aluminum solution heat treating, aging, forging, pre-heating, and die heating.
Also helping to contribute to Premier’s overall success is the long-standing company policy that all new equipment must be fully tested prior to leaving the shop. Premier knows that the extra effort taken to do this up-front always pays off with a smoother field installation and far less customer downtime at the end of a project.
Currently, the company is waiting on patent approval for a new proprietary combustion design.
“The patent for our new furnace design is part of our innovative process to advance the future of heat treating equipment,” Selmi said. “The patent-pending furnace has a great design, and both installations of this type have been very successful. This is something we are very proud of.”
In addition to new equipment, the company also offers other products and services including field service work, installation service, preventative maintenance programs, retrofits of older systems to meet the demands for modern technology, rebuilding and refurbishing of existing equipment, and on-site technical support.
In May 2015, Premier Furnace acquired BeaverMatic, which has significantly enlarged its market share and has greatly enhanced its ability to offer a wider variety of equipment.
“BeaverMatic is a well-known company that’s been in the industry for 50 years. When the opportunity to purchase presented itself, we went for it,” Selmi said. “BeaverMatic has a very good reputation, so we thought that the acquisition would complement Premier Furnace’s position by providing a much larger presence in the industry. Along with acquiring BeaverMatic, we also employ Kary Peterson, who, as the former president of BeaverMatic, brings many years of knowledge and experience with him.”
BeaverMatic’s storied history began with its founder, Jack Beavers, in the 1960s. According to Peterson, Jack’s spirit still lives on through a mission of continued innovation to provide today’s customers with solutions in performance-proven furnaces. Even now, as environmental protection standards become ever stricter, BeaverMatic continues to evaluate its designs to maximize energy efficiency and savings for captive and commercial heat treaters.
“While designing the most fuel-efficient furnaces, we are also focusing on reduced emissions of NoX and CO2,” said Peterson.
Today, BeaverMatic is best known for its dependable Internal Quench Furnace (IQF) with several unique design features for the quench tank, the heating configuration, the load transfer mechanism, and the electrical control system. The IQF offers process versatility for carburizing, carbon nitriding, through hardening, bright annealing, and normalizing with various atmospheres. Additional BeaverMatic products include tip-up furnaces, car bottoms, and continuous furnaces. System upgrades, spare parts, and field service support are also offered.
According to Peterson, BeaverMatic is proud to have a strong history of satisfied customers in pivotal industries such as aerospace and automotive. Peterson and Selmi both agree that building and maintaining these strong customer relationships is key to their combined success.
“What sets Premier Furnace apart from others is our intimate communication with the customer — listening to their needs and then using our experience to provide a solution,” Selmi said. “It’s also our attention to detail. We fully test the equipment before it ships. On the backside, it involves staying in contact with the customer by fully supporting and servicing our equipment with spare parts and our experienced technicians.”
During the initial application phase of a project, Premier Furnace works with customers to find the right furnace with the right features to meet their process requirements. This begins with Premier’s highly experienced sales and engineering staff analyzing the customer’s process through collaboration with metallurgists and many other resources in order to determine the best solution to each customer’s individual needs.
As an OEM, Premier Furnace has seen first-hand how heat treating equipment has evolved over the years. While there are newer techniques and more efficient materials, burners, and insulation, it is the electrical controls technology that has improved the most.
“The equipment we manufacture now has changed over the years mostly in the computer aspect, the PLC control monitoring, and the history data collection,” Selmi said. “Customers want greater detail with their data collection and tighter temperature uniformity control with their process. We are continually working to meet these needs.”
Implementing new software or control algorithms in a custom piece of equipment has its design and implementation challenges. But Premier identifies these and addresses them prior to the mechanical “build phase” of the project when steel hits the floor.
“With custom-designed equipment, there is always an inherent risk in reward,” Selmi said. “Things may not always go the way you planned. But in the end, Premier overcomes these obstacles and makes certain the equipment is a success for both our customers and our company.”
Premier Furnace has a bright future ahead — to be well-recognized in the industry as a leading worldwide provider of new heat treating equipment.
“We’ve made giant steps in the industry already,” Selmi said. “We’ve streamlined equipment, made it more user-friendly, and have more automated controls. This is how we intend to make ourselves a cutting-edge leader in the industry.”
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