Phoenix’s Fab Place: Reuter Equipment Co.
In the summer heat of Phoenix, work begins at 3:00 a.m. for Brent Reuter and his fabrication crew at Reuter Equipment Co. on Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix.
Under an expansive canopy, overhead cranes hold in place I-beams, brackets, and rolled steel sheets as welders meticulously bond them. They’re building a chassis, a massive but portable frame (with decks, railing, and ladders) that will support a crusher that reduces rock to sand, gravel, or other base material.
Reuter's fab unit has been working at capacity as aggregate producers gear up to meet the demand for material around the Valley. The TSMC semiconductor factory, solar power station, and related infrastructure in North Phoenix is the largest scheduled construction project in the nation. It’s expected to require 300 deliveries of sand and gravel each day. Meanwhile, Intel has announced plans for an even bigger chip factory in Chandler.
Reuter sells, rents, and repairs crushing, screening, washing, and conveying equipment for aggregate producers, as well as drilling equipment for hard rock mines and water wells. Reuters Fabrication Inc. (RFI), a smaller sister corporation, performs custom fabrication work. Their clients are located across the Southwest, including Mexico.
Through its custom fabrication, Reuter delivers crushing, screening, and washing equipment that enables the customer to position and run them efficiently and safely. Arizona has no shortage of aggregate, but its brutal summer heat and extra-hard river rock are a challenge for crushing plants. Therefore, the placement, operation, and maintenance of equipment are critically crucial to the profitability of a sand and gravel operation. After decades of experience, Reuter’s know-how and custom fabrication work set it apart from other dealers.
Reuter traces its history back to 1931, when Iowa Manufacturing Co. licensed Ivan Reuter, a 35-year-old assistant county engineer, to sell its Cedar Rapids line of road construction equipment in the Southwest. Landing an equipment dealership was a remarkable achievement for Ivan. His father was an accomplished machinist and mechanic, but Ivan had limited knowledge and experience with construction equipment. Nevertheless, he proved to be a highly successful salesman and business manager.
Ivan operated his new business under the name “Arizona Cedar Rapids Company,” and it grew with the economy of Arizona and the Southwest. In 1956, he incorporated the business under Reuter Equipment Company and began selling every category of road construction and aggregate processing equipment: bucket loaders and dump trucks; compactors and rollers; pavers and graders; even snowplows. By 1972, Reuter was Arizona's largest aggregate and paving equipment distributor, with satellite offices in Tucson, Silver City, and Las Vegas.
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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Nov/Dec 2021 issue, Vol. 10, No. 6.