Success Story

MacKay Manufacturing Inc.

Interview: Katie MacKay, Vice president, Gregg Meyer, Milling department supervisor

MacKay Manufacturing is a family own business, starting its activities under different other names since 1946 and owned by MacKay family since 1986. Based in Spokane Valley, MacKay produces parts and components for customers starting from technical drawings. Most of the time, the part produced are long term orders sometime for several years with multiple production batches according to customer needs. MacKay offers a full turnkey solution for high mix and lowvolumes demands, around 5 to 20 parts per order and a mix of 300 to 500 different setups which represents the current and average production in process.

MacKay Manufacturing Inc, employees 145 people, among them 65 are machinery specialists offering a full service through trained staff dedicated to support the machining centres, to make them run 7days / 24hours.

MacKay Manufacturing primarily serving the medical industry. 60 % of MacKay’s sales are done in the medical segment, especially in instruments and devices and included a few implants as well. Other segments are micro-mechanics with parts such as semiconductors for microscopes industry or Aerospace.

66 %

reduced setup time

Interview

Could you give us an overview of your shop floor equipment?

Katie MacKay: MacKay Manufacturing is Spokane’s one stop job shop with milling, turning, mill-turn, EDM, Swiss turning, heat-treating, citric passivation, laser engraving, 4 axis laser welding, assembly, and even a class 10,000 clean room. An impressive 65+ CNC machine tools work permanently to achieve our goals.

Our facilities of 50’000 square feet contains screw machines, from different manufacturers so to have a diversity of processes according to customers approach. What is really important when we select a machine manufacturer is the support in after sales that we are going to have during machine lifetime, but also the transition when we buy an equipment and the time it needs to become familiar with all the functionalities. We do a lot of gun drilling so we have 9 units dedicated for this operation and now we combine screw machines including gun drilling options to get more flexibility while producing parts. So we tend to fade out gun drilling machines on our shop floor.

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Gregg Meyer: Our extensive milling department consists of 17 machining centres while our prototyping department uses vertical turn/mill equipment. Apart from our 2-axis lathes, others have milling, drilling capabilities. The aim is to simplify production processes by integrating all the operations, or most of them in one single setup. This way we gain time in production and we avoid scrap while having to adjust multiple setups and human interventions.

You have recently done the acquisition of 2 Bumotec s191H from Starrag. Could you explain what has motivated your choice?

Katie MacKay: From my point of view, we have started to work with that kind of mill / turn technology with one of your competitor machine. We have seen all the possibilities that could be offered to our business but it was such a slow machine and then we found out on Bumotec that we were able to remove much more material, faster and bigger cuts. Bumotec is a much beefi er heavier machine, compact and we could do whatever we want with it. This was the selling point which makes the decision of buying a Bumotec instead of another competitor’s machine.

Gregg Meyer: Starting with mill/turn, we rapidly see the possibilities of the Bumotec machines to produce from bars to stock, again and again without any interventions. We regularly quote parts that if it corresponds to the dimension possibilities of the machine and using milling processes, I would prefer to produce on a Bumotec s191H as we have seen that it reduces dramatically setup times. We have a particular job where setup time takes 24 hours on a standalone machine from the time to prepare the run to the time where the part goes to quality department to be checked. 

We have done it with the Bumotec and it took only 8 hours. The reason is bar stock in, including programs, the machine builds the parts, and there are only a few minor adjustments to be done. Productivity starts for us when the machine in on the green light. It is profi table when we do chips and sooner we come to this point, more productive we are. With the Bumotec we reach this goal sometimes 3 times sooner than on standard machines.

What are the main functionalities of the machine you use the most?

Gregg Meyer: Drilling, milling, turning are the main processes that we use. Less of 50 % of our parts have turn work on them. The benefi t of that machine is that I am making 100 % mill parts. 

What kind of relationship do you have with Starrag / Bumotec support team?

Gregg Meyer: When we fi rst buy the machine, one question was: “Where will the support come from?” And then we discovered that Bumotec machine support will come from the US through its Starrag Inc subsidiary and even from Seattle with a local service support. That was really a positive feedback for training and maintenance assistance. If I need support, I get in one day which is really impressive.

Katie MacKay: We have started our collaboration since 2015, we have a good relationship with the same solid staff.

Could you give us an example of a real success story produced on your Bumotec s191H?

Gregg Meyer: I will take the example of this invasive blade in the medical fi eld, which was previously produced on another machining centre. Moving the production on Bumotec s191H, we have reduced setup time by 66 %, cycle time has also been decreased and running with oil instead of water soluble, we have less scrap due to the fact that tools life has been improved.

What is your vision of the future for your business within the next 5 years?

Katie MacKay: Doing better and better, keeping up with the latest technology and continuing with a trend of 5 % growth per year, which represents our average evolution of the last years. In terms of organisation, our large plant will allow us to follow the trend of new acquisitions in terms of production solutions and we are always looking for motivated future skilled employees who would like to join our big family … and be part of a team which spirit is based on continuous improvements. 

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