McSweeney’s Inc. Expands as It Strengthens Industry Safety

McSweeney’s Inc. is continuing to expand on its more than 45-year history of providing safe and reliable products to the mining industry. The company, founded in South Point, Ohio, in 1967 by Larry McSweeney, draws on its experience in forging, machining and fabrication to manufacture drill steel and other mining tools including hammers, seals and anchor pins. Larry McSweeney owned and remained involved in the company from the time of its founding until he passed away in January 2013 at age 83. His son, Joe McSweeney, and daughter, Sandra Blackburn, now own and lead the company.

McSweeney’s has remained in its original location and is an important part of South Point and its surrounding community. The company prides itself on supporting the coal industry in its region, and is one of the area’s largest employers.

In addition to its mining products, McSweeney’s also produces plow blades for snow removal and ground work used on equipment manufactured by Caterpillar, Roadtek and Sandvik, as well as pins and other products used in the railroad industry. The company also offers custom machining and fabricating services, has its own full-service machine shop and does its own tool and die work.

Expansion is a high priority to the company both at its home base in South Point and in its international business. McSweeney’s is investing in new machining centers and other equipment and examining the possibility of doubling the size of its 27,500-square-foot manufacturing operation. On the business front, company representatives attended the Bauma 2013 expo in Munich, Germany, in an effort to expand its products into Europe and South Africa, Joe McSweeney says.

Blackburn credits the company’s growth to its emphasis on customer service. “We pride ourselves in our service – if someone has a problem or situation, no matter what it is they can reach us 24/7 and we will go and address the problem,” she says.

Safety Efforts

All of McSweeney’s products are forged from carbon steel, making them among the strongest and safest available in their markets. The company in recent years solidified its commitment to quality by attaining ISO 9001 certification. “Most of our products are developed around the safety aspect and to improve the safety of their end-user,” Joe McSweeney says. “The quality and forging of our products make them stronger and safer, particularly compared to fabricated welded items.”

Safety also is designed into several of the products. These include McSweeney’s patented hands-off Twist Lok drive-end design, which is used with roof-bolting machines to drill holes in the roof of an underground mine so truss and rib supports can be bolted to prevent collapse. The Twist Lok is used in a roof bolter to lock in support steel during installation to prevent operator injury, the company says.

Another safety product manufactured by the company is a slip clutch used on small four-wheel mining vehicles that transport workers through mines. The clutch is designed to slip rather than place excessive force on operators’ hands while driving.

McSweeney stresses safety within its internal operations through a number of training and other programs. Several of these programs are offered in conjunction with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. As a result, the company has reported no lost-time accidents for more than 1,600 days. “We’ve put a lot of effort into improving safety to get it to where it is right now,” Joe McSweeney adds.