President Daniel Hayden (left) and Laser Services Shop Manager Tim Wetherbe (right) oversee laser metal deposition of a pump screw.Reminder Publishing submitted photo

WEST SPRINGFIELD – This year marks the 100th anniversary of Hayden Corp., a thermal spray coating and laser-cladding service company in West Springfield. The company has come a long way from the wire mesh fabric that it first produced to serve the many paper manufacturers in Holyoke and the surrounding area.

The Hayden Corp. President Daniel Hayden is the fourth generation of the family to lead the company. He is the great-grandson of Hayden Wire Works founder Charles E. Hayden. Daniel grew up in the business.

After getting his bachelor degree in Design from Kenyon College, Daniel came back to work at the company full-time in 1998. He has been president since 2009 when his father, John Hayden retired.

The company applies metallic and ceramic coatings to machines that operate under harsh conditions. The coatings are applied at high pressure and are only thousandths of an inch thick.

“That’s half the thickness of a sheet of paper," Hayden said. The thin layer belies the strength and durability that the coating offers. Hayden said that when students visit the factory on a field trip he likes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the coatings by cutting a sheet of metal with a saw. After applying a titanium coating, he tries to run the metal through again to show it won’t cut, no matter how hard he pushes.

The coatings that Hayden Corp. makes are found in industries that run the gamut from plastics and chemical processing to automotive and energy production.

In 1919, Charles began Hayden Wire Works on Sylvan Street in West Springfield. The company wove and installed wire cloth for paper mills throughout the region. He soon expanded to servicing and rebuilding damaged or worn equipment molds.

Charles’ son, Charles Wesley (“Wes”) Hayden improved the performance and wear-resistance of molds and expanded the business to include other essential paper machine components. He also developed new molds that used Hayden-designed components.

During Wes’s leadership, the company moved out of wire cloth and focused on equipment wear-protection and repair. He also oversaw the development of “metallizing,” a precursor to today’s thermal spray coatings, which consisted of projecting particles of metal that have been heat-softened onto a roughened surface.

This resulted in a tough layer that could be ground and finished. Hayden Corp. was an early applicator of high-performance spray-and-fuse style coatings.

Under John Hayden, grandson of Charles E. Hayden, the company grew at an unprecedented rate. Annual sales grew by more than 10 times while he was at the helm.

In the early 1980s, after several expansions of their Sylvan Street location, Hayden Corp. finally moved to a larger facility on River Street.

In 2008, Daniel added laser-cladding, which uses a laser beam to heat the coating and weld it to the metal, rather than spray it on. He has also expanded the use of automation and robotic equipment in the company.

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“We continue to grow,” Daniel said. “We’re proud to have such a rich history, ingrained in the broader American manufacturing story of our region and the town of West Springfield,” Daniel said in a press release. “And this is a special time for our company; you only hit 100 years once.”

Looking ahead, Daniel said, it was hard to tell what’s next for the company, although a continued expansion in aerospace is likely their next step.

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