D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. was founded in 1966 by Del Moerke Sr., his wife Fern, their two sons Del Moerke Jr., Wayne Moerke and two daughters Beverly Marshall and Karen O'laughlin. D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. started in the basement of the Moerke home in the Chicago suburb of Lombard.
In 1946, Del Sr. began working for Airco (Air Reduction Sales Co. of New York) and became a member of the Airco development team developing a new welding process known as "MIG" (for Metal Inert Gas Welding), a process that was faster than conventional "TIG" (for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding), and also achieved the high temperatures needed to effectively weld Aluminum. "The Philadelphia Naval Yard was looking for something new to weld aluminum and that's how this process came about."
From 1950 to 1958, Del Sr. was in the group of engineers for Airco that was developing the MIG welding process. During this period Del Sr. traveled the entire United States, to companies such as Boeing, Lockheed, Ford, and General Motors, installing equipment, and showing them how to use it. In doing so Moerke saw all of the competitions equipment and the jobs that were required. He saw welding guns that worked for 15 minutes, and then needed to be shut down for service. That's when the thoughts of developing a better torch began to creep across his mind. He developed the first D/F gun sitting in the motel at nights. It took him two years to come up with the design for a MIG pistol welding gun that was fully water-cooled. Once designed, fabricating the gun was no problem. Del Sr.'s hobby was building live steam locomotives and he had a full compliment of machinery in his basement. That's where he built the first original units.
Del Moerke Sr. obtained his patent in 1968, left Airco and began manufacturing welding guns and consumables on a small scale in his basement. D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC., was incorporated in Lombard, IL. in 1970. Soon after incorporation D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. moved from the Moerke family basement to its first factory location in Lombard, IL. Del Sr. new that he could count on his family, so Wayne ran the Machine shop which made all of the torch parts and consumables. Del Jr. engineered product, machined the product, was in charge of assembly, inside sales and customer support. Beverly was the shipping and inventory manager, and also inside sales, Karen inside sales, the office manager and corporate secretary. Fern (Del Sr.'s wife) helped with all aspects of the company from running the business, machining, assembly to cleaning the shop. Each family member wore many hats and was integral to the success of the company. In the early days, Empire Screw Manufacturing Company not only manufactured some of D/F's parts but also helped in the training of operating the machines.
Moerke's contacts, his experience, his knowledge of the industry and the competition all combined to make the D/F pistol gun something of an overnight success. Instead of being shut down for maintenance after 15 minutes of steady welding, D/F guns just ran; 3 shifts a day, 7 days a week all year long. they could work them to death.
In 1978, D/F moved from the Chicago area to the newly built plant in North Mankato, Minnesota. The company soon grew from six family members to 14 employees including the extended family of spouses and grandchildren and the addition of CNC machinists.
Around 1985, Moerke noticed robotic welding beginning to appear in Caterpillar and John Deere plants in Illinois and Iowa. One drawback of the robotic welders that Moerke saw was that they required a two hour shutdown for maintenance due to torch failure. Utility lines running into the gun for gas, water and the welding wire had to be stripped down and then a new gun had to be re-harnessed and re-positioned. All this was very time consuming and he felt something new was needed to do a better, quicker job.
D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. then designed a new water-cooled robotic welding gun. It consisted of a Docking Spool, and Posit Ring, both patented and trademarked, so his gun simply snaps into the wrist of the robot and is instantly positioned to resume welding. This change over takes 45 seconds rather than the standard 2 hours. Moerke then developed a similar torch to be used on automatic machines. many of these original guns are still in production today and used on automatic and robotic cells worldwide.
D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. has a tremendous reputation and an excellent product. D/F is known as the "heavy duty guys" throughout the welding industry. D/F is the only manufacturer in the U.S that has both a 1000/amp MIG and TIG torch that can run 1/4 inch aluminum wire for MIG welding and 3/8 inch diameter tungsten for the TIG process.
After 40 years in manufacturing of MIG and TIG welding products and consumables, Del Moerke Jr. and son Steve Moerke in 2008 purchased D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. from the other Moerke family members. Since this North Mankato, MN business will remain in the family, it will continue its long tradition of producing superior welding products and its reputation for outstanding customer service. Del Moerke Jr. and Steve Moerke plan to continue this family tradition. The purchase of D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES, INC. ensures that D/F's loyal customers can continue to receive the quality and service they are accustomed to, while new D/F customers will benefit from alternative superior welding products and consumables.
D/F MACHINE SPECIALTIES manufactures American Made MIG & TIG Water-Cooled, Air-Cooled, Semi-Automatic, Automatic, Robotic Welding Guns and Machine Barrels. To go with its welding guns, D/F has its own complete line of welding consumables including, Welding Tips, Gas Nozzles, Gas Cups, Mounting Arms, Mounting Brackets, Utility Stations, Power Cables, Water Hoses, Gas Hoses, Liners, Inlets, Wire Feeder Adapters and Euro-Connectors.
D/F's MIG & TIG equipment has been used exclusively by Lincoln Electric, Miller Electric, and ESAB for 40 years. Since the inception of robots in welding, D/F's robotic barrels have been used on all robotic manufacturers' equipment including Fanuc, ABB, and Motoman robots. D/F is a lifelong member of the AWS (American Welding Society) and GAWDA (Gases and Welding Distributors Association), and has had MIG and TIG innovations consistently featured in the Welding Journal.
Shortly after Del Jr. and Steve purchased D/F, the new Tandem Torch & Twin Wire 1200 amp Water Cooled Machine Barrel were introduced. D/F then went on to develop its new Water-Cooled Gasless Overlay Torch for large flux cored wires, and its new Water-Cooled-to-the-Tip series of torches for both automatic and robotic welding. A unique feature to D/F torches and barrels is that they are fully repairable, and a service they offer to all of their customers.