ST. CLOUD -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we learn to shape all kinds of metal with the machinists at Ickler in St. Cloud.

The stories at Ickler are endless from the things they manufacture and produce in their over 100 year history.


General Manager Mark Held says there is no job too difficult to do.

"We modify fish houses, make pontoon boats, and make parts for homogenizing machines that are shipped all over the world," says Held.

The magic starts out in the machine shop where the items are placed on the job bench.

Plant Manager Matt Corrigan says when they get a project it's first assessed, then assigned to someone based on the timeline they have to work with.

"So after we determine who will do the job, I'll talk to our machinists and explain to them what needs to be done and what timeline they have," says Corrigan.

As the project starts it's modified to the customers request before it's brought to a final inspection and shipped out.

"So once the job is finished they bring it to me, we'll do the inspection on it and then it goes out to the customer," says Corrigan.

However, for larger products that require more then one item it's sent to a different room.

"Here we can make blueprints, transfer that over and what would take us over a week to build we can bring it here and have it done in a matter of hours," says Corrigan.

Corrigan says for many of the products they make, there is no instruction manual on how to do things.

"It's a lot of problem solving and figuring out what needs to be done and then the next day you are doing something entirely different," says Corrigan.

The employees take great pride in their work and Held says sometimes he sees them more as artists then machinists.

"The work is really about sculpting the metals, sometimes very precisely to take on a shape and a function," says Held.

Ickler has been in business in St. Cloud since 1910.

Machine begins shaping metal rod to customers ideas (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Machine begins shaping metal rod to customers ideas (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)


More From AM 1240 WJON