“If you buy a cheap end mill, it’s going to break at the worst possible time. It’s pretty easy to do the math. That’s why we bought the Okumas.” – Shape WLB
By Shop Metalworking Technology Thirty percent growth year after year. An ever-expanding customer base. High marks from the community you serve. These are a few of the goals shared by all manufacturers, but when there’s not enough capacity to keep up with demand, action must be taken lest those customers turn elsewhere.
This was the situation faced by Jonathan Brouillet, manufacturing director at SHAPE WLB Inc. It was nothing new. In his five years with the company, he’d repeatedly dealt with the challenges and opportunities that come with rapid growth, and the choice was simple: subcontract the work to others, or invest in yet another machine tool to keep it in-house. Brouillet and the team opted for the latter, an Okuma MB-4000H horizontal machining center from distributor EMEC Machine Tools.
Thanks to substantial investment in its three horizontal machining centres (HMC) and the tooling needed to support it, the company has managed to bring a fair amount of its work in-house. Its most recent machine tool–the Okuma MB-4000H–is a 15,000 rpm, 400 mm pallet HMC, and the second machine at SHAPE sporting the Okuma logo.
“Our first one was an MB-5000H, which we purchased a little over three years ago from EMEC in Mississauga,” Brouillet says.
“Then, we moved to a new 15,000 sq ft facility in Chambly last summer. That gave us more floor space to work with, and with business continuing to grow, we decided it was time for another machine.”
- Rapid growth with no end in sight
- Expand production capabilities with a horizontal machining center