Our Story

The AEI Fabrication Team

Advanced Energy Ideas, based in Mesa, Arizona, is the parent company of two dynamic enterprises that are shaping the categories in which they do business.  Celebrating nearly 20 years in business, AEI Lighting is AEI's lighting subsidiary, a multi-faceted manufacturer and full-service solutions provider of industrial, commercial and residential energy-saving lighting products that include LED, T5/T8/T5HO fluorescent, induction and natural light skylights for applications such as distribution centers, warehouses, production floors, retail, grocery, commercial buildings and office parks.

With a focus on sustainable practices, responsible manufacturing and unparalleled creativity in product design, AEI Lightings 200-plus lighting fixture models are now found in all 50 states in the United States.  The company has also serviced most of the Fortune 2000 in industries ranging from logistics to warehousing to cold storage to big-box retail to high-tech to entertainment.  AEI is also proud to serve those that serve our country, calling all U.S. military branches and NASA clients.  AEI's metal fabrication subsidiary, AEI Fabrication, is less than two years old, and provides high-quality, precision metal fabrication services to many industrial categories.  The company has quickly become a 'go-to' source for customers in solar, alt energy, transport, semiconductor, solar, communications, retail and utility sectors, to name a few.

The AEI Fabrication Management Team with a combined 70+ years with the company
When asked about AEI Fabrication, owner and founder Ron Kotloff says, "AEI Fabrication just kind of happened. At AEI, we are such perfectionists at manufacturing our own products, we knew we could make high-quality parts outside of the lighting industry as well." He continues, "The culture we have created here at AEI is that every part we produce is a potential first impression. For example, in the lighting industry when a company is asked for a sample of their fixture by the customer, that sample is usually examined with a fine-tooth comb, wires organized and cleaned up so it looks perfect. Then, the product that is shipped is entirely different. The attitude we have here at AEI is, 'if we build a thousand fixtures, we never know which one they are going to pull of the stack to look at and test, so every one of those thousand fixtures needs to be perfect -- as if that one is the sample that will be scrutinized."

Over the course of the past year and a half, AEI began to field requests to fabricate parts from other companies. Kotloff says, "These weren't lighting companies in our category, they were companies who had heard that we were meticulous with our fabrication process and dedication to quality. The parts they wanted were architectural panels that were delicate and needed to be pristine. The reputation we had working with pre-painted materials without scratching them (both of AEI's AMADA turrets are brush tables to prevent marking on the parts) is what brought them to us." He continues, "We had the right equipment and the right employees, so we agreed to these one-off jobs. This spurred us to open a new side of the business, called AEI Fabrication, a company that fabricates parts as a job shop. While we still have yet to begin advertising, our customer base is growing rapidly."

AEI Fabrication is quickly building a reputation for cost-saving, high-speed, precision laser cutting combined with efficient, full-service metal fabrication capabilities that deliver a turn-key metal fabrication solution for customers in a wide range of industries. Kotloff adds, "We are smaller and more nimble than our competitors and this allows us to consistently innovate and bring the latest technology to our customers ahead of others." He continues, "Our tenets of success start with our 'can-do' attitude that permeates every member of the company (there are 35 team members today). This attitude is the catalyst for the growth of AEI and its departments, such as Design & Engineering, who use the latest in CAD/CAM, including SolidWorks, ProE, FabriWIN, MetaCAM and other modeling and process software to design, develop and prototype any product in the most cost-efficient manner. We are known for working closely with our clients throughout the entire product development and production process to ensure the utmost in cost-efficiencies and customer satisfaction."
With A 14-Foot, 250-Ton Press Brake & Punching/Stamping Capability, AEI Fabrication's Team Can Handle All Metal Fabrication Processes For You

The team at AEI Fabrication shares the philosophy of consistently building the best products possible by taking pride in workmanship and the physical surroundings in which they work.  "We recently had a new fabrication customer tour our facility and, as I was discussing our quality process, he stopped me and said that he knew the products we would fabricate for him would be outstanding.  When I asked him how he knew, he added, 'It's because your facility is so clean and well-cared for.  If you take this good care of your facility, machines and floors, you will clearly pay attention to the quality of our products'," Kotloff commented.

Another customer came to AEI Fabrication when its current supplier was quoting four weeks delivery time for their aluminum architectural panels.  The company needed them in two weeks.  AEI Fabrication took on the project and had the panels completed in three days!  The customer commented that not only was AEI Fab's delivery schedule outstanding, he mentioned that the AEI's panels were the best fabricated parts he ever received and with the best packaging.  The customer added that AEI's attention to detail was unmatched.

AEI Fabrication's Amada LC3015F1-NT 6,000-watt Laser Cutting System : The Only One Of Its Kind In Arizona
AEI has not always executed its own parts fabrication. Years ago, AEI designed its lighting fixtures 'in-house', sent the designs to sheet metal companies who would cut and bend the parts and then ship them to AEI for final assembly. "As volumes continued to grow", says Kotloff, "we decided it was time to take fabrication in-house. Of all the shops we sent our parts our to, the best results invariably came from shops that owned Amada equipment. When we made the decision nine years ago to open our own sheet metal fabrication shop, I evaluated a number of sheet metal equipment manufacturers but, ultimately, I selected Amada."

Today, AEI/AEI Fabrication is a mostly Amada shop, offering precision laser cutting, punching, stamping, bending and forming, with state-of-the-art superior Amada machines. In addition, AEI offers machining with Haas and Mazak equipment and certified MIG and TIG welding, product finishing, logistics & controls, design & engineering and quality assurance, all perfected over the 20 years AEI has been in business.

AEI Fabrication's newest addition to its line-up of Amada machines is the LC3015F1-NT 6,000-watt laser cutting system, which is the only laser of its kind in Arizona. The LC3015F1-NT can cut up to 1.25-inch steel and up to .75-inch stainless steel or aluminum. Kotloff says that the laser provides customers amazing cost and time efficiencies, especially over water-jetting parts and closes, "We're a young, growing job shop. If you need metal fab, come take a tour of AEI with me personally. You won't regret it and you'll find that we want to help you any way we can."