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Helping Farmers Stretch Capital Investment Dollars

Used Equipment Dealer Improves Inventory Identification/Location Method with Metalphoto®

J & S Tractors, LLCHundreds of years ago in the High Plains region of Texas, herds of buffalo and antelope roamed. Nowadays, these same plains are covered by crops, primarily cotton and peanuts. In fact, Texas is the number one producer of cotton in the United States, with more than two-thirds of that crop coming from the High Plains. It's the number two grower of peanuts in the country, providing nearly 500 million pounds of peanuts annually.

As a livelihood, agriculture is a tough business. Farmers are often at the mercy of weather conditions and agricultural pests, which can impact profitability. Additionally, farming requires capital investments, including reliable farm tractors, supply parts and accessories, land and building, seeds and other costs.

Often, farmers will opt to purchase used equipment. The advantages include being able to purchase an item at a lower price while avoiding the initial depreciation cost. Additionally, buying used tractors and accessories offer a wider range of choices than one manufacturer brand can.


In West Texas, J & S Tractors, LLC of Seminole, has grown into a successful business by helping farmers get more for their money. The family-owned used equipment dealership, located in Seminole, Texas, specializes in buying and selling well-maintained used John Deere and Kioti tractors, supply parts and accessories. In addition to carrying farm equipment, J & S Tractors also buys and sells used construction equipment. More recently, the company opened a second dealership 90 miles away in Lubbock, Texas.

In business for more than 20 years, J & S Tractors was founded by Jacob Loewen. Before starting his own company, he worked in a similar capacity with farmers in the West Texas region, developing a good reputation and a strong network of buyers and sellers.

"The labels...will last for years without needing replacement."

"We've made it our business to help people find the right equipment for their needs," says Nancy Loewen, assistant at J & S Tractors, LLC and Jacob's daughter.

In addition to its reputation and far-reaching network, the company gets repeat business because of the cost benefits associated with buying used equipment, Loewen says.

"Some of the equipment that we sell is not brand-new, but it's less expensive and still in great condition," she says. "If we don't have exactly what the person is looking for, we'll help them find what they want."


J & S Tractors regularly gets new equipment through auctions and from people selling items. Because most people who buy used equipment like to inspect it first, the company uses a computerized system to make finding the item in their vast inventory easier.

"We keep all the information in our database so we know what we have in our yard," Loewen says. This data is then matched and manually tagged to each piece of equipment using plastic adhesive labels. However, these would crack, peel, and fade under the damaging sun. "They just didn't last," Loewen says, "making it difficult to reconcile the inventory back to our records."

"We really love what we are using from MPC."

Early in 2016, J & S Tractors wanted to use a better system to keep track of its equipment inventory. They turned to Metalphoto of Cincinnati for help in creating a serialized numbering system that was easier for them to use and maintain. MPC recommended Metalphoto anodized aluminum with superior resistance against sunlight, abrasion and extreme temperatures.

"The labels are manufactured with sequential identification numbers and have a permanent pressure sensitive adhesive on the back for easy attachment," Loewen says. "They will last for years without needing replacement."

The system that J & S Tractors now uses makes organizing and locating equipment much easier, especially since the company carries different models of tractors and parts.

"We really love what we are using from MPC," Loewen says. "The quality is much better than what we were using, and we won't have to guess what's on inventory or its location. We're very pleased with MPC."

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Quality and Durability Make The Perfect Fit

MPC delivers durability and precision required by sonic drill manufacturer Terra Sonic

Terra Sonic International

Terra Sonic International boasts expertise in designing and manufacturing sonic drilling equipment that goes back to the technique's earliest market acceptance more than 20 years ago.

Terra Sonic's equipment uses high-frequency resonant sonic energy to penetrate sandstone, limestone, siltstone and other deposits without the use of drilling fluids. Instead, the rig's vibration fluidizes the surrounding soil, allowing it to more easily penetrate the soil to depths up to four meters. It's a method used frequently in environmental sampling, ground source heat loops and geo-construction due to its speed and versatility in a variety of ground conditions.


MPC is Terra Sonic's supplier of choice for the control panels that guide their high-tech drilling rigs, where skilled operators monitor nearly a dozen gauges and execute every task the rig must complete.

According to Amy Tabler, Terra Sonic's purchasing agent, her choice of supplier for these control panels had to meet exacting standards. "Quality is important and the fit has to be perfect," says Tabler. "We did have other suppliers quote, but MPC provided the type of quality and expertise that we wanted in this part."


Also critical - durability. Terra Sonic's drilling rigs are used in rugged conditions where exposure to sun, mud and weather require durability in every part the company uses. Etched stainless steel overlays proved to be only a temporary solution. It is Metalphoto® anodized aluminum that provides the long-term quality and durability Terra Sonic requires. Metalphoto is constructed with a sapphire-hard anodic layer that maintains its original appearance for more than 20 years, even under such tough conditions.

"MPC provided the type of quality and expertise that we wanted."

In fact, the National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers (GPI) has called Metalphoto the most durable aluminum substrate available, citing superior resistance to abrasion, heat and sunlight.

"We want to be the best," says Tabler. "When people see our rigs being transported, we want people to say 'what's that?' and run to their computers to look us up."


Building each rig is a creative process, says Tabler. Every piece of equipment is built in Terra Sonic's 100,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Marietta, Ohio, and sold to customers across the U.S. and around the world. "Our design team designs every piece of equipment, and we have a sister company that makes the welds," she says. "It's like a work of art."

"Lead times are always what they (MPC) promise."

Tabler is the one responsible for procuring the many parts needed for each rig, and she can't afford to have the manufacturing process delayed by mis-cut materials or longer-than-promised lead times. MPC offers precise and quick fabrication to every customer’s specifications.

"The Metalphoto panel comes in all ready to go, and the lead times are always what they promise," says Tabler. "Metalphoto of Cincinnati always does what they say they are going to do."

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Heavy-Duty Equipment Requires Heavy-Duty Panels

Link-Belt Relies on Metalphoto of Cincinnati for Panels Used in Equipment Cabs

Link-Belt cranesLink-Belt Construction Equipment Company is a leader in the design and manufacture of telescopic and lattice boom cranes. Their range of equipment includes crawlers as well as rough and all terrain vehicles. Link-Belt's vehicles are used globally in the construction and maintenance of numerous infrastructure systems, particularly transportation, energy, water management, and communications. One of the requirements for the cab componentry in their construction vehicles calls for panels that display universal symbols for operation.

"These panels must be of an industrial quality, able to withstand extreme temperatures, UV exposure and significant force impacts."

As a Materials Negotiator, it is Leah Barnett's responsibility to source the most rugged and economical panels for their equipment.

The parts are expected to endure substantial abuse out on the job site - suffering forceful impacts as well as regular exposure to abrasives, UV and extreme heat or cold. "These panels must be of an industrial quality, able to withstand extreme temperatures, UV exposure and significant force impacts," Leah explains.

MPC recommended their most durable material, Metalphoto®, for Link-Belt's HTC, RTC and ATC equipment. Metalphoto produces high-resolution graphics and features a sapphire-hard anodic layer that is impervious to weather. That anodic layer also provides superior resistance to UV, abrasion, extreme temperatures, and chemicals.

"We cannot afford to do business with a supplier who is not capable of sustaining a high quality product and level of service. MPC delivers that high level of consistency."

Utilizing their advanced manufacturing capabilities, MPC constructs a panel of specified thickness (.003" to .125") of Metalphoto anodized aluminum. Holes are fabricated for mechanical attachment and openings are machined to house mechanical switches. Final production includes bending the part to exact contour designs.

Thirty-three years of experience with Link-Belt has taught Leah that consistency in service and quality are imperative from a supplier. Leah adds, "We cannot afford to do business with a supplier who is not capable of sustaining a high quality product and level of service. MPC delivers that level of consistency."

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MPC creates outdoor images that will last for Mariemont School Foundation

Mariemont School Foundation

Located just outside Cincinnati, Ohio, the Mariemont School Foundation is a non-profit organization of parents, residents and alumni working to sustain excellence within the award-winning Mariemont School District.

In 2012, the foundation set out to create an outdoor structure that would recognize the district’s generous supporters, display the faces of local students and faculty, and inspire others in the community to give.

Charged with creating a unique, eye-catching display, able to make an emotional connection with passersby was Cincinnati design firm White Design Studio.


The installation that White Design Studio created transcends typical signage to become a true work of art. Interlocking hexagonal tiles - inspired by Mariemont schools' hexagonal architecture - fit puzzle-like on a large outdoor wall in hues of brown, yellow and blue. The wall is trimmed above by a metallic trellis and sited prominently at a bustling Mariemont bus stop.

"The panels needed to be permanent, durable and crisp."

Each tile commemorates a donor or displays a photograph of students. To create photo tiles with sharp black graphics and superior durability, White Design Studio turned to Metalphoto of Cincinnati.

"The panels needed to be permanent, durable and crisp," says Thomas Dangerfield, a designer for White Design Studio. "MPC gave us great-looking photos in a very durable product."


MPC's Metalphoto anodized aluminum is the only material that could give White Design Studio the photo resolution they wanted with the durability they needed for this project.

Sealed under Metalphoto's sapphire-hard anodic layer, these tiles will maintain their original appearance for more than 20 years, even under exposure to extreme heat, humidity, UV, abrasion and more.

In fact, the National Association of Graphic and Product Identification Manufacturers (GPI) Industry Standards and Practices Manual identifies Metalphoto photosensitive anodized aluminum as the most durable printed aluminum substrate available, citing its applicability for extreme environmental conditions and outdoor exposure.

Given its location on a busy city street, the donor recognition wall also benefits from another Metalphoto characteristic - it is inherently graffiti resistant.


To achieve the puzzle-like pattern, White Design Studio needed every tile to meet exacting measurements. Each tile is 5" x 3" and lines up precisely with a matching hexagonal grid on the wall. "MPC produced the images and cut them to the exact shape we needed," says Dangerfield.

"Every time we have to get involved in the production process it costs our client money. Metalphoto of Cincinnati was able to produce exactly what we asked for."

"This application was unique because it was outdoor. That made MPC and Metalphoto the ideal choice for this application."

Additionally, Metalphoto's high-contrast blackon-silver graphics capability also helped White Design Studio create true photographic images with no compromise in resolution. "This application was unique because it was outdoor. That made MPC and Metalphoto the ideal choice for this application," says Dangerfield. "If we did any outdoor projects again, we would absolutely use Metalphoto."

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Preserving Trees with Long-Lasting Signs

MPC's signs help Holden Arboretum educate visitors in tree preservation

Holden Arboretum plant signs

Five miles from Lake Erie's shores sits the historic Ohio community of Kirtland, a small town of about 7,000 devoted to preserving its natural resources.

That dedication to nature preservation is most evident at Holden Arboretum, a tree preserve and garden spanning 3,600 acres, 20 miles of hiking trails, 25 lakes and ponds, and more than 12,000 plantings of trees, shrubs and perennial plants.

Founded in 1931, Holden Arboretum welcomes about 80,000 visitors every year from outdoor enthusiasts, backyard gardeners and other plantlovers, many looking for information about new and unusual tree and plant varieties.

"People are curious - what is that? What color blooms does it have? How big will it get?" says Greg Wright, Holden Arboretum's nursery supervisor. "It's of great value to them."


Holden Arboretum satisfies that visitor curiosity by using Metalphoto signs to identify each tree, shrub or plant with its common name, Latin name, height, origin and other descriptors.

The signs are part of Metalphoto of Cincinnati's Sign-num Sign System, the first landscape signage system that provides permanent environmental resistance. This system utilizes a durable ABS plastic frame to secure the Metalphoto anodized aluminum sign in the soil.

Metalphoto provides easy readability with high-contrast white-onblack graphics, and is built to withstand extreme heat, humidity, UV, exposure to chemicals and more. Metalphoto is proven to maintain its original appearance for more than 20 years.

"(MPC has) always been very helpful and accommodating."

Over the last 20 years, Holden Arboretum has installed thousands of Metalphoto signs to identify its tree, shrub and plant species. These signs can be found throughout the preserve's 3,600 acres, including in popular spots like the Butterfly Garden and the Rhododendron Garden. Every year, Wright orders about 600 more Metalphoto signs to identify new plantings.

"They've held up well," says Wright, adding that his biggest challenge is keeping the signs clear of bird droppings.


With so many plant species to track and identify, Metalphoto of Cincinnati has become a trusted partner to Holden Arboretum to create accurate and timely signage. Wright says Holden Arboretum had tried in the past to produce their own signs from engraved plastic, but was disappointed in the appearance and durability. Engraved plastic signs are prone to UV fade and do not offer the longevity of Metalphoto.

"We always have a consistent product from MPC."

Today, Wright manages an intricate database to track information on each plant, and provides exported data to MPC to generate signage. "They've always been very helpful and accommodating," says Wright. "The turn-around is usually about two to three weeks."

By offering durable, readable and long-lasting signs, Metalphoto of Cincinnati is helping Holden Arboretum achieve its mission of preserving its land, trees, plants and wildlife for the future.

"We always have a consistent product from MPC," Wright says. MPC has the experience to deliver a quality product exactly to customer expectations and specifications.

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logos of MPC customers - sprecher+schuh, cold jet, cannon instruments, dhs systems, link belt cranes

logos of MPC customers - sprecher+schuh, cold jet, cannon instruments, dhs systems, link belt cranes

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