Tyler Gauntt removes excess metal from a fiber optic

Tyler Gauntt removes excess metal from a fiber optic mounting frame at the Leitner-Poma manufacturering facility in Grand Junction. 

GRAND JUNCTION — Cody Wells lifts his welding helmet and takes a step back from the massive steel wheels dangling from the girders of the Leitner-Poma of America warehouse.

“It’s like a mad-scientist piece. There’s not another one like this anywhere,” he says.

Wells is welding together two bullwheels — one on top of the other like a stack of cookies — to create a pivot point inside a midstation for the new six-seat chairlift at Alpine Meadows in California. The double bullwheel is the first of its kind for the lift manufacturer and the first for any resort in North America.

Wells is adjusting his weld to accommodate for the metal expanding as it warms during his fiery fusing. He would be happy if the seam between the two stacked bullwheels stays within 1/16th of an inch of perfect.

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