Cranberry company making its mark in business for 125 years

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Mecco Marking & Traceability of Cranberry is looking to the future as it celebrates 125 years of business.

Dave Sweet, company president, said Mecco has a legacy of innovation, from when it began as a simple “hammer and chisel” business. Mecco produces and sells laser marking and dot peen marking systems to industries to mark products and parts with serial numbers, logos, graphics, bar codes and characters.

“We're looking at not only the tool, but how it's applied,” Sweet said. “We are continuing to use innovative technology that customers are demanding.”

While the company has seen much success from its marking business, the future lies in traceability, which is the ability to track a part from “cradle to grave,” the president said.

For example, companies like Ford put barcodes on each part when it is created, Sweet said. The part gets scanned at every stop along the production line to ensure quality control. The part is then linked with the car's VIN number.

If there is a recall on that part, manufacturers can find the cars with the faulty part rather than recalling 100,000 cars to find the right ones, Sweet said.

“Ford has saved millions and millions using barcodes,” he said.

The marking company had humble beginnings when it was founded as M.E. Cunningham Co. for the steel mills of Pittsburgh in 1889.

Based out of Carson Street on the South Side, it created hand stamps used to pound serial numbers into steel billets.

The Speicher family bought the company in 1924 and continued to grow and develop marking technology from rubber stamps to steel stamps and metal marking to dot peen, a technique that uses a series of dots to mark objects.

A fire during the 1936 St. Patrick's Day Flood destroyed the South Side plant and Mecco moved to the Franklin Park area for many years, said Dave Prokop, Mecco's marketing manager.

In 2002, the Speichers sold the family business to a group of local investors. The new owners sold the hand stamp business to a competitor and looked to expand into laser marking technology.

Sweet, who has a background in laser engineering and technology, came on board in 2005 to help the company develop its laser marking systems and that year, it went from hand stamping to all automated marking technology.

Mecco moved to Cranberry in 2007 to give its operations a “higher-tech feel” and have better access to major highways and other businesses.

Sweet said Mecco works with Gillette, Westinghouse, Snap-On Tools, John Deere, Caterpillar and many automotive companies and their suppliers, such as Ford, General Motors and Honda.

The text on a car's side mirrors reading “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” are etched by lasers.

“What's nice is you can pretty much put a mark on anything,” Sweet said.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902

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