Sequim Gazette Artilce
Inventive ingenuity: Retired pipe fitter wants to manufacture new product in Sequim
aMAESing Tools Manufacturing, Inc.
Location: 1201 E. Washington St., Sequim
On the web: www.amaesingtools.com
PHOTO CREDIT: the photo on this page has been used by permission of The Sequim Gazette.
Roger Maes invented this mobile work station for industrial application
A professional pipe fitter for 60 years and an inventor since the 1970s, Roger Maes envisions starting a plant in Sequim to manufacture his patent pending mobile work station.
Maes, a vigorous 80, figures he’s got a good 15 years to accomplish his goals of drawing in investors, producing and selling the work table in a worker-driven co-op. After all, his mother patented a wheelchair adaptor when she was 92 and lived to be 94.
Five of Maes’ inventions are components of the table as is its easy-assembly design for industrial pipe fitting applications, including close quarters, such as in chemical plants and powerhouses.
“It is for industrial pipe fitters and welders for the fabrication of piping 2 inches and under,” Maes, a 2003 transplant to Sequim, explained. “It automatically lines up pipes (for welding) and allows them to be leveled in the field, increasing productivity.”
According to Jaques Dulin of Innovation Law Group, Ltd., who helped Maes file his patent paperwork, “Getting the pipes oriented precisely at 90 degrees, particularly when they go in consecutive different directions, has heretofore been almost impossible. But Mr. Maes’ MSW includes rails on three sides that are oriented precisely and special (previously patented) clamps for holding not only the pipes but also various tools at several work ‘stations’ … All the tools and clamps that fit on the rails can be securely stowed in the ‘box’ body of the MSW.”
Through his company, aMAESing Tools Manufacturing, Inc., the mobile work station should receive its official patent in the coming weeks or months.
“Every patent I’ve applied for has been granted, so I’m batting a thousand,” Maes said.
The next step is to make contacts in the I-5 corridor for demonstrations and testimonials to attract investors.
“With the trailer, I will start to show it off to different users and I’m looking for $50,000-$100,000 in seed money,” Maes said. “I’ll get leads from industrial contractors and test it on some of their jobs regarding the validity of my patent. This will go straight to industry.”
“One hundred billion would be nice,” quipped Chad Cowan, Maes’ go-to information technology and videography guru, whom he calls his “key man and No. 1 guy.”
The octogenarian and 30-something spent three months creating a professional and polished 17-minute video demonstrating the work station’s features that now is on YouTube at http://youtu.be/yszc_sIm8YU.
Maes is confident that his plans will progress from positive responses from pipe fitters in the field, to willing backers to a Sequim manufacturing site on his property at 1201 E. Washington, resulting in family living wage machining and welding jobs.
He stressed that he wants to manufacture the station in Sequim with local workers based on the Mondragón model from the Basque Country in Spain, which espouses a humanist concept of business, a philosophy of worker participation and solidarity, and a shared business culture between the rank and file and managers.
“It would be the only co-op manufacturer in Washington as far as I know,” Maes said.
“The Mondragon model puts workers before profit and everybody gets one vote on organization. When I’m gone, I will leave it to the workers who will own it,” said Maes, a man proud of his Basque heritage.
“Eventually, I want to have a machine shop here, offices and a work area. I plan to assemble it here as light industrial. I want to get going and have the community benefit.”
As a side note, it was Maes’ elderly mother who told him the family name must be incorporated into the company name — now a memorable moniker to be sure.