How G.Loomis Rods
are Made – A Behind the Scenes Look at the Factory’s Secret Sauce
you might expect G.Loomis is one of the largest employers in Woodland and over
100 employees work at this facility, many of them have been with the company for
many years. G.Loomis has an average turnover rate of over 12 years, which is an
exceptionally long time for a major rod manufacturer. Equally as impressive is
that there are many employees, including Bruce, that have been at G.Loomis for
over 25 years.
At the tack
station the cut graphite is prepped to go onto the steel mandrel
Once we walked into the
office we were greeted in the lobby which is connected directly to the front
office. This section takes up a small portion of the entire facility and is home
to the customer facing operation as well as the management team. We noticed a
few familiar sights in the front office including the ICAST Best of Show Awards
that the company had won from previous events.
Each rod makes
use of a mandrel during production
I asked Bruce if it would
be ok for me to take pictures of everything at the facility and he smiled and
said snap away. He handed me a bright colored vest to identify me as a visitor,
and a pair of protective eyewear. Then without further pause we went straight to
the well lit shop floor.
machine was designed by Gary Loomis...
The manufacturing floor
was ripe with activity and while the facility wasn’t strident there were plenty
of noise emanating from the surrounding machinery and employees moving materials
around the various stages of production. In all there are 15 key steps in the
manufacturing process that each and every rod goes through on their way to
becoming a fishable product. The process mainly consists of manual labor
supported by machinery. This is not some sort of automated assembly line
process, instead the fabrication of each rod is done by employees at individual
stations where they specialize in particular roles.
the graphite material tightly on the mandrel
The birth of each rod at
G.Loomis starts with the graphite material. This graphite forms the foundation
for each rod and can vary in both modulus and quality. G.Loomis uses various
graphite materials to make their own blanks which all start with graphite
prepreg. Prepreg is graphite material that is pre-impregnated with resin, and
various lengths and sheets of this material is measured and cut by hand using a
steel template. This unique combination that forms the foundation for each rod
is what gives the blank a specific length, power, and action.
Bruce shows us
the graphite which is now rolled onto the mandrel
After this material is cut
it is ready to be rolled onto a steel tapered mandrel, different mandrels are
used to give each rod just the right shape and diameter. At the tack station
glue is added to the rod to ensure that it will properly adhere to the mandrel
during the next few stages in the process.
The mandrel is
then wrapped with a special cellophane tape and is loaded into a rack which
rolls into the oven for the bake cycle which cures the epoxy