Extreme Steel Fabrication at its Finest

Collins & Jewell Company
Written by Pauline Muller

It is hard to imagine the noisy, metallic world of steel fabrication being a means to make the near-impossible a reality, but that is exactly Collins & Jewell Co., Inc.’s specialty. From the latest Columbia-class submarine missile command and control module trainer to facility relocation, this custom fabricator works in a number of disciplines and without geographic limits.
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Remotely located projects are made possible with four fifty-three-foot trailers that are fully-equipped mobile shops complete with a 12,000 pound capacity forklift. The trailers also have welding and cutting equipment, mechanical tool sets, electrical tool sets, man lifts, pipe threading, and bending equipment. Aside from just tool sets they employ various amounts of specialty rigging equipment capable of lifting moving up to 100,000 pound maximum lifting capacity. With these, Collins & Jewell Co., Inc. can complete anything from a single machine installation to rigging or relocating entire manufacturing facilities.

It is no wonder then that the team is a trusted partner of the US Department of Defense, as the company also has a strong focus on naval fabrication. In addition, it is no stranger to gargantuan, one-off projects, another attraction for its discerning clientele. From its main facility based in Bozrah, Connecticut, Collins & Jewell Co. Inc. performs steel manufacturing and top-class design. This company’s next-level flexibility makes it the ideal partner for industry giants and small operations alike.

With services ranging from engineering and steel fabrication to erection, industrial installation, retrofitting, refurbishment, and a full portfolio of project management and coordination services, there is just about nothing in this industry that this all-star team cannot achieve. Here, industry experts are always at the ready to bring clients’ visions to life.

“Our dedicated teams take any customer’s idea from concept to completion with regards from small to large fabricated structures or complete facility production equipment relocation to the installation of new equipment,” says Brian Dudek, chief operating officer.

Its retrofitting and refurbishment services concentrate on minimizing the amount of production time that is lost due to equipment replacements and repairs, significantly improving valuable uptime, and protecting customers from major financial losses that can result from breakdowns and upgrades.

The company is well-versed in building and erecting large-volume megastructures, and with a 35,000-square-foot facility, two production shifts, and all the motivation needed to get the job done on time, this team is famous for moving mountains on tight deadlines. The company negates the headaches caused from having multiple project contributors by undertaking every aspect of turnkey industrial installations, concluding projects in an orderly and timely manner and fully supporting its clients from start to finish. To achieve this, strict controls and protocols are followed and coupled with expert project management every time.

Integrity, honesty, and ingenuity are the mainstays of Collins & Jewell Co. Inc. but its next-level equipment and trusted, modern techniques also contribute its work, making possible what can only be dreamed of at many other facilities. The company is at the forefront of the latest technologies in all its specialty areas, including design.

Two-dimensional layouts are rendered with the latest software to conjure images of entire plants or isolated areas and assist clients in visualizing the outcome of each project. This eases the pressure of planning plant expansions and additions and helps clients to make sound decisions based on real-time information and projected productivity. Its draftsmen are experts at sizing up existing facilities in their entirety and taking current machinery and equipment into consideration. Once the detailed drafts are complete, three-dimensional model renderings assist in ironing out any possible problems.

During this process, attention to detail eliminates errors and guarantees successful outcomes with minimum disturbances to the operation of existing facilities when the work starts. “Our road crew staff travels to project locations and handles installations of all sizes. Our disciplined team offers project management, design, drafting, fabrication, assembly, finishing, quality control, electrical, and millwright services,” says Brian. While its traveling teams take care of clients located elsewhere, its local crew of millwright and electrical installers look after the New England area.

Collins & Jewell Co. Inc. is very well-known for its long-term relationships, and clients often remain customers for life. The reason is clear considering how respected the company is for its attention to detail and high-profile projects. And the more challenging the project, the better the company likes it. All of its seemingly-impossible projects have presented opportunities for growth and showcased its incredible capabilities.

Its naval expertise is evident in its making of submarine components and construction of naval training facilities. This extends from mammoth multilevel staging – the scaffolding used in exterior submarine maintenance while dry docked. It also manufactures replicas of submarine components for naval training purposes. “We recently completed the installation of a missile command control module to be used as a U.K.-U.S. Naval trainer,” says Brian.

Its services also include fabricating prototype weapons systems and storage structures that hold submarine components prior to installation. Its list of high-profile projects includes everything from piping systems that temper submarines’ nuclear reactors during the construction phases to the installation of pressure hull manufacturing equipment and prototype missile tubes to creating fixtures and manipulators that enable underwater operations.

It is also in the process of fitting a new Columbia-class submarine trainer at Cape Canaveral, Florida that will be completed 2021. The company is responsible for upgrading and maintaining numerous shipyards and facilities throughout the east coast, including the shipyard in Groton, Connecticut and several facilities belonging to Air National Guard, where it was also responsible for the installation of ballistic walls and hanger doors.

The firm is an expert in many fields and prides itself on being a top provider of relocation and installation services for the international wire and cable and plastic sheet extrusion systems industries. “Collins & Jewell has completed many plant equipment relocation projects for plastic beverage cup providers such as Solo Cup, Sweetheart Cup, Win Cup, and Consolidated Container all over the U.S. We also continue to grow our customer base locally with continued mechanical support to power co-generation and paper manufacturing industries,” says Brian.

It entered the relocation market around 1973 when New England’s textile industry started migrating to the south and subsequently also became involved in equipment repair and installation for the wire and cable sector and plastic extrusion industry. It branched into areas as diverse as electrical services and infrastructure services like piping for chilled water equipment and steam, compressed air, power, as well as resin handling equipment.

With only two shop employees at that time, this visionary company fabricated hangers, pipes, catwalks, and small mezzanines for its field installations. The 2008 recession brought a greater focus on military projects and heavy investment in expert staff and the latest equipment. This decision proved most rewarding as eighty percent of its current work is for the military and carried out around the globe.

Due to the stringent tolerances and quality control standards to which it adheres, the company holds several American Welding Society (AWS) and Naval Sea Systems Command (Navsea) welding qualifications. It offers regular welder workmanship training and even has its own certified welding inspector. The company also self-delivers and installs whatever it builds.

“Having moved manufacturing equipment around the corner and around the globe, our staff has a reputation for placing our customers’ interest first and completing projects on or ahead of schedule consistently while staying within the quoted budget,” says Brian.

For Collins & Jewell Co. Inc., the greatest compliments from its employees are when they encourage family members to work for the company, and there are many examples of this. It all began when brothers-in-law Robert Jewell Sr. and Rudy Collins founded the company. Their children later joined and bought the company, with a grandchild also eventually joining.

“Christopher Jewell and I have worked our way up through the business until 2005 when we purchased the company. Through the years, we have had brothers, nephews, cousins, sons, daughters, even grandsons of our staff working as part of our team,” Brian says.

The company provides more than just meaningful careers. Its team of eighty-one also has a lot of fun and enjoys golf outings, picnics, holiday parties, great benefits, and competitive remuneration. It is also very generous in its contributions to the local fire department, schools, and community drives and fundraisers. It particularly concentrates on regions where it can make a noticeable difference.

Collins & Jewell Co. Inc. is trusted by respected industry names such as Marmon Group Cable Companies, General Cable, Belden Cable, Rand Whitney, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Nexans Cable, Troester Mfg., Firestone Building Products, Carlisle Building Products, Dart, Southwire, Consolidated Container, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Bath Iron Works, Burns McDonnell, Bayer, and scores more. It is also the main supplier to Electric Boats and has hosted political visits and welcomed many news interviews on its Columbia Class submarine program.

Much of its twenty-five percent annual growth can be attributed to the US Navy’s decommissioning and replacement of nuclear submarines over the next fifteen years. It has grown from employing six shop crew working one shift a day in 2005 to twenty-three people working two shifts per day. “We have invested huge amounts into faster, better technology for preheating and welding all types of steel. Our current projects have had a tremendously positive impact on the greater Connecticut as we offer so many wonderful career opportunities,” says Brian. In recognition of this good work, the company has been recognized by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) for its contribution to the economic growth of the state.

Following its rise to the top, sustained growth appears to be inevitable for Collins & Jewell Co., Inc. It plans to expand its facility, adding even more jobs and move its current ship construction support division to include more complex and challenging ship services and components that will allow it to better serve its ever-growing number of international customers and military sectors.

From its start as a boiler repair and installation vendor in 1946, this industry leader has come a long way. It covers all of North America and has worked as far afield as South America, Asia, Europe, and even Russia. Over seventy one years’ worth of hands-on experience and in-depth industry knowledge pushes this business to do better daily.

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