Ornamental Iron Saves Lives

Posted on Saturday, December 1, 2012

From the installation of ornamental iron railings to pushing its boundaries and offering full-service coating services, this Henderson, Nev.-based fabricator has proven its toughness.

By Sharon Spielman

Back in June 2011, a man was pronounced dead after falling from the 10th floor of the Venetian Hotel & Casino’s parking garage while taking photos of the Las Vegas skyline. At that time, this was the fourth fall-related death from Las Vegas hotel resort structures in a four-month time span. The three previous deaths all involved intentional jumps/suicides from The Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace, and El Cortez hotel structures.

It was after one more accident in December 2011 when The Venetian and AR Iron, Henderson, Nev., worked together to make The Venetian Hotel & Casino’s parking structure more safe.

“In 2009, the Venetian was considering installing railing along the tenth floor but it never came to fruition,” Tony Sclafani, Vice President of Operations, told Powder Coated Tough. Then, after the December 2011 accident occurred, Sclafani made contact with the Venetian and asked if they wanted to revisit the original proposal. “We set up a meeting for the next morning, and after meeting with the powers that be, they informed me they wanted to install the entire west wall openings from floor 2 through floor 10.

The railing had more than 8,000 hand forged half-inch solid bar scrolls, and over 16,000 deco rosettes welded on the finials. “We completed the project in less than 90 days and used only three production days on the coating line to complete the finish,” he says. Taking on huge projects like this one shows how tough AR Iron has been in the face of adversity.

Since last featured in Powder Coated Tough in 2007, AR Iron has seen many changes in the marketplace. “The Las Vegas housing market took one of the worst hits in the country with numerous short sales and foreclosures,” Sclafani says. Las Vegas was once a homebuilder’s heaven with more than 4,000 new residents for over 20 years. Since the crash, homebuilder’s production has moved to a snail’s pace. “As of late, the market has shifted a little. Homes that are in foreclosure are now locked up with the banks, thus providing little standing inventory for those wishing to buy a new home,” Sclafani reveals. “Homebuilders have seen this and are starting to increase production slightly here in the valley. AR, however, has been able to sustain with a positive business model and a striving dedication from AR employees."

AR Iron finishes all of its custom fabricated ornamental iron at its facility in Henderson. The company fabricates gates, fences, security screen doors, spiral stairs, railings, and many other wrought iron products for both the residential and commercial marketplace. “We also complete coatings for outside customers. We are able to complete customer’s projects from start to finish as AR has an onsite media blast recovery system and full batch coating capabilities,” Sclafani explains.

The company’s conveyer line hasn’t changed much since the company was featured in Powder Coated Tough in 2007 (see page 35 in the Spring 2007 edition of PCT), according to Sclafani.

“AR recently purchased a new 12' x 12' x 30' Rapid Engineering batch oven to expand our coating capabilities,” Sclafani says. “AR is also in the process of purchasing a new batch spray booth from Parker Ionics. We use Parker Ionics automated guns on our conveyer line and love the Pulse Power Parker units provide. Pulse Power provides unbelievable transfer efficiency as well as outstanding coverage in our many Faraday cage areas in our ornamental iron.” Sclafani also says that Parker has constructed booths that allow for quick color changes and a multi- feed hopper system that AR can benefit from. AR on a typical day changes colors eight to 10 times.

Remaining Tough

Over the past 25 years of business, Sclafani says that AR owners have reinvested into the business, operating debt-free. “Our owners have always had a strong belief in operating with the best equipment, field trucks and employees. Without our owners’ strong beliefs, we would not have been able to absorb the expense of renting or payments of equipment,” he says.

With the majority of its business in the housing market, AR has been able to sustain with a firm grasp on the residential market, Sclafani reveals. “We typically turn around all projects in three to five business days for completion.”

He adds, “We are currently involved with custom fabrications outside our typical scope of work such as CNC plasma, laser-cutting, forgings, as well as sheering and punching. This has allowed us to go outside our market and take full advantage of becoming a full service company.”

Sharon Spielman is editor for Powder Coated Tough magazine. She can be reached via email at sspielman@powdercoating.org.