“It’s probably the busiest machine in the shop right now. And regardless of all the current trade issues and government interference, we’re on solid footing. Canada’s nuclear industry is strong. Its automotive business is strong. GM and Ford have stayed, Toyota’s here big time, and we see a lot of electric vehicle activity in Canada. Best of all for us, these companies see value in our tooling. That’s because we’ve built great facilities with cutting edge equipment. Now, if we as a country can just learn to utilize our manufacturing capabilities and lock our doors a little bit more, we’re all going to be in great shape.” – Chris Hergott, Vice President of Operations, XL Tool
Hit from Both Sides – Machine Shop Realizes Big Benefits From Double Column Machining Center – Customer Testimonial: XL Tool
By Shop Metalworking Technology MANY MANUFACTURING COMPANIES open their doors focused on a certain industry or market segment, only to expand well beyond the initial business plan. So it is with XL Tool Inc., which was originally a part-time tool and die shop doing work for the automotive and appliance sectors. That was in 1993, and when one of the original partners decided eight years later that it was time to move on, owner Gord Jokic hired vice president of operations Chris Hergott to help grow the business.
Slow but steady growth
A machinist and toolmaker by trade, he was quite successful. Today, this ISO 9001:2015 shop has 50 employees, a 3400 sq m (37,000 sq. ft.) plant in Kitchener, ON, a stamping facility in Querétaro, Mexico, and has recently earned its N299.4-16 nuclear certification. It also made a substantial investment earlier this year in an equally substantial machine tool, an Okuma MCR-A5CII double column CNC high speed machining centre from EMEC Machine Tools Inc. in Mississauga, ON.
It’s not XL Tool’s first Okuma. Far from it. There’s also an MU-5000V five axis vertical machining centre (VMC), an MB-46VAE three axis VMC, a Y axis LB4000 EX II and Genos L300MW CNC lathes, both with live tooling, and an M560-V vertical with a five axis table. XL Tool’s well-equipped production floor boasts numerous other manual and CNC lathes and mills, surface grinders, and wire EDM machines, among them a 4-metre (157 in.) X axis horizontal machining centre from Awea, an 800-ton Bliss tryout press, and the latest addition, a 1600-ton Blow straight-side stamping press.
It’s the Okumas that have perhaps had the biggest impact on growth over the past decade, however. “We started buying Okumas around ten years ago and quickly found that you just can’t beat them,” says Hergott. “They’re reliable, extremely accurate, and there are rarely any difficulties. Yes, there’s less expensive equipment out there, but there’s a reason they’re called mother machines.”
- Increased demand for large, high accuracy machine components
- A double column machining centre with five-sided milling capabilities