Production Machining

OCT 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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34 PRODUCTION MCHINING :: OCTOBER 2018 SPECIL COVERGE Lights-Out Operation Enables ork/Life Balance Edited by Chris Koepfer s a salesman in the machining industry, particularly of rearms, Mike Dowell was facing 80-hour work weeks that left little time for anything else. He loved what he did, and he was good at it, but it was taking a toll on him and his family. In 2013, Mr. Dowell's now ancée, Jodie Mixa, told him he should start his own company. She had been in the manufac- turing industry for many years as the president of a machine shop, so she knew the "drill" and also had experience with accounting. Recognizing Mr. Dowell's determination, a quality that has led him to compete in Spartan champion- ships and several marathons over the years, she bought him QuickBooks, and a week later he started his own company. Mr. Dowell had the connections and a thorough under- standing of the industry. He knew there was a high demand for quality, discrete parts, so he bought a repo CNC machine and shipped it out to San Diego, California, where he planned to start his business. "I surrounded myself with good people, and good things happened," he says. "My business partner, Jodie, takes care of all the accounting and customer service, and my other business partner, Tim Hertel, is the operations manager and is very good with systems. With them, we made a nice prot in the rst six months, and over the course of another six months we doubled our prots." It was at this point that they dubbed their business Axem Distributing Inc. 'ree months later, a family tragedy struck: Mr. Dowell's youngest daughter, Emma, lost her mother. Knowing Emma would need her grandmother in this time of grief, he changed his business location plan from San Diego to Northern Kentucky (where Emma's grandmother lives) and reshipped his machine. Here, Mr. Dowell opened a facility of 5,000 square feet and began manufacturing. "Initially, we had two Swiss-type machines and a mill, but at the end of the day, what I wanted was a machine that would run lights out," he says. In 2016, Mr. Dowell had the money to invest in new equipment, so he started searching for the right machine and process. "At that time, I did not know about Eurotech Elite and was thinking another machine tool brand cell would be my choice," he says. "However, the local Eurotech distributor, Dave Hornsby, asked me to visit a local :: ith a much-reduced ork eek, Mr. Doell gets to spend more time ith his daughter. :: xem's purchase of three Eurotech multi-axis turn-mill machines has alloed the company to run lights out. Eurotech customer who had six of his machines running in the shop that he ran with his wife. I saw the machines and was impressed. His Eurotechs were producing nished product, lights out in a single handling, without damaging any parts. 'e subspindle shift for Op. 20 was amazing. 'is setup was really working. I knew this was exactly what I had been looking for. I knew of no other shops with a process that came close to this." Mr. Dowell purchased three Eurotech (71-mm) multi-axis turn-mill machines. "With the distributor's help, I set up the

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