April 30. 2012 9:00AM

BCA fabricates customer products, waste shredders

Made In Milwaukee

By Molly Dill

BCA Industries in Milwaukee is a metal fabrication job shop, but it also makes its own tire and waste shredders and dabbles in dozens of other fields.

It would be easier to list the industries BCA doesn't serve than those it does, said president Doug Bartelt.
"Everything that we have that's a hobby somehow turns into a business," Bartelt said. "We do a little bit of everything."

He and his brother, Joe, started BCA Industries in 1998 to make parts for hot rods. Now, BCA makes everything from rare gun parts to lawn spraying equipment.

"There's just not enough profit in it to do the custom cars," Bartelt said.

The company, located at 4330 W. Green Tree Road, has 17 employees.

BCA helps its customers develop manufacturing solutions. The engineering department assists with CAD and electronic product design and prototyping.

The job shop fills orders for metal fabrication and finishing for companies throughout Wisconsin, including ProLawn in Menomonee Falls and Applus+ AutoLogic in Sussex. Capabilities include CNC machining, precision welding, CNC tube bending, press brake and mirror polish metal finishing.

"Most job shops are only a machine shop or a metal (fabrication) shop, and we're both," Bartelt said. "We can take the whole part from start to finish—engineering to shipping."

The company's do-it-all attitude adds value to its services, he said.

BCA's gun part business has also been successful, Bartelt said. The products are sold on www.gunpartswarehouse.com and on eBay.

EBay is a great way to do test marketing on new products, Bartelt said. BCA sells about $250,000 of products per year on eBay alone.

But the company's focus product is its shredder. The device, which quickly grinds up tires and other large waste, is useful on construction sites and in disaster clean-up.

BCA has started marketing the product to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for shredding debris like roofs and trees in the wake of natural disasters.

"We're one of five companies in the U.S. that make this type of shredder," Bartelt said.

BCA's portable tire shredder, which can shred 400 tires in an hour, is the only one in the industry that is light enough to be transported using only a three-quarter-ton pickup truck, he said.

The company built seven shredders last year, and Bartelt hopes to increase the production to about 16 per year. The machines take 12 to 14 weeks to build and cost about $85,000.

The shredder will be displayed at BCA's first international trade show, the WasteExpo, in Las Vegas in May. While BCA already has some international customers, it hopes to gain more from the expo.

John Neuens, marketing manager at BCA, describes Joe and Doug Bartelt as, "seat of the pants engineers" who are good at innovation.
Diversification and innovation helped the company get through the Great Recession and sluggish recovery,

Doug Bartelt said, since contract manufacturing work can be sporadic.

"Our niche, really, is they've got a problem, we solve it," he said.

BCA Industries
4330 W. Green Tree Road, Milwaukee

Industry: metal fabrication
Employees: 17