WERTS Welding & Tank Service Inc recently finished an extensive renovation and expansion of its Birmingham, Alabama, branch location. The tank parts specialist celebrated the project completion with an open house in June.
Fifteen vendors displayed an array of tank truck products during the event. Guests enjoyed a barbeque and had plenty of opportunity to tour the thoroughly updated and expanded facility, which is located at 2330 Balsam Avenue SW.
“This facility had record growth over the past five years, but it could have done even better with a more up-to-date facility,” said Dwight Werts, president and chief executive officer of Werts Welding & Tank Service. “We knew the facility needed to be updated, and we had talked about doing that for years.
“The time was finally right last year, and we launched the renovation project in August 2018. The work finished in March 2019. We have significantly expanded our parts sales and tank repair capabilities. We now have five sales representatives (six with the branch manager) on site, as well as 16 staffers in the shop, including mechanics and parts department personnel.”
Werts Welding has had a presence in Birmingham since 1997, when the company acquired Mid-South Tank, which had locations in Atlanta, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida, in addition to Birmingham. In 2001, Werts Welding moved the Birmingham operation to the current location, which previously served as a terminal for Redwing Carriers.
The branch sits on a 12-acre site that includes nine acres that have been graded and graveled for parking. Adjacent to a number of petroleum terminals serving Birmingham and the surrounding region, the Werts facility is ideally located to serve a full range of tank truck operations. The branch serves customers across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
“We get quite a bit of drive-up business at the Birmingham branch,” Werts says.
The Birmingham branch is one of two in the Werts Welding network that offers a broad range of code cargo tank repairs. The other is Werts Welding’s original location in Wood River, Illinois.
Building improvements at the Birmingham Branch specifically targeted the cargo tank repair and parts sales activity. Included in the upgrade was a significant expansion in the cargo tank repair shop.
With the improvements, the shop now has five fully-enclosed inside bays, four canopy bays, and two outside bays. Previously, maintenance operations were limited to two inside bays and two outside bays.
Twenty-foot ceilings provide plenty of overhead clearance for mechanics working on top of tanks. New LED lights provide better illumination with fewer fixtures than the halogen lights used previously.
A new fabrication area was added to the shop with equipment including an iron worker and a band saw. A press brake and shear will be added in the future. The parts storage area was expanded and reorganized to enable better customer service.
“These shop improvements have given the Birmingham branch a more professional appearance,” said Branch Manager Wayne Wallace, who has been part of the Werts Birmingham operation since it opened in 1997. “We believe it is helping us attract more tank mechanics, which are in short supply these days.”
Other facility improvements include updated sales offices, customer waiting area, and a new conference room that also serves as a training classroom. Currently, three fleets have terminal offices at the Birmingham branch. Ample parking space is available for fleet parking.
Products sold at the Birmingham branch include Mac tank trailers and dry bulkers.