Success Story

MacKay Manufacturing Inc.

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

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

MacKay Manufacturing Inc. employs 145 people, among them 65 machinery specialists, offering full service with trained staff, dedicated to making the machining centres run 24/7.

MacKay Manufacturing primarily serves the medical industry. 60% of MacKay’s sales are in the medical segment, especially in instruments, devices and implants. Other segments are micro-mechanics with parts such as semiconductors for microscopes or optics and guidance systems for the Aerospace industry.

66 %

reduced setup time



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 contain screw machines from different manufacturers to have a diversity of processes according to our customers approach. What really is 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 we need 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.


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 aquired 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 the machine of one of your competitors. 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. The Bumotec s191H is a very heavy, but also compact machine with which we can produce everything we want. That was the decisive purchasing argument for us - and so this time we opted for the Bumotec rather than the competitor's product.

Gregg Meyer: We quickly realized the production possibilities that a turning and milling machining center like the Bumotec s191H offers with regard to the repeated processing of complex parts. We regularly offer parts that we would like to have produced with the machining center, provided that the dimensions and milling operations are suitable, because this allows us to achieve significantly shorter setup times.

For a given process, the setup time on a machine is 24 hours: from preparation to the time the part is sent to the quality department. With the Bumotec s191H, we did the whole thing in just eight hours. This is possible because of the bar production, including the corresponding programs. The machine produces the parts, and only minor adjustments are necessary.

For us, productivity starts when the machines lights are green. We are profitable when we produce chips. The sooner we get to that point, the more productive we are. With the Bumotec s191H, we sometimes reach this goal three times faster than with standard machines.

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

Gregg Meyer: Drilling, milling and turning are the main processes we use. We need turning processes for less than 50% of our parts. The advantage of this machine is that we produce 100% milled parts.

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

Gregg Meyer: When we bought it, we asked ourselves the question: Where exactly does the support come from? Then we found out that support for the Bumotec machining center in the USA is provided by a Starrag Inc. subsidiary and there is even a service in Seattle. That was really good news in terms of training and maintenance. When I need support, I get it within a day - and that's really impressive.

Katie MacKay: We started our cooperation in 2015 and have been able to build a good relationship with the Starrag employees.

Could you give us an example of a real success story made possible by the Bumotec s191H?

Gregg Meyer: Invasive blades for the medical sector are what comes to my mind, which were previously produced on a different machining center. By moving production to the Bumotec s191H, we reduced setup time by 66%. We were also able to reduce cycle time as a result. Because the machine uses oil instead of a water-soluble solution, tool life has improved, resulting in less scrap.

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

Katie MacKay: We want to constantly improve, keep up with the latest technologies and continue the trend of 5% growth per year, which is in line with our average development in recent years. Our large plant allows us to continue to pursue new acquisitions in terms of production solutions. We are also always looking for motivated, talented people to join our team and live our philosophy of continuous improvement.

Bumotec s191H at MacKay Manufacturing USA - Interview with Katie MacKay, Vice President

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