OUT OF THE ASHES – T & L Automatics Inc. & Eurotech
FIRE DISASTER HITS
On February 24, 2012, shortly after 1:30 AM Rochester, NY fire crews were dispatched to the building of T & L Automatics Inc. on Emerson Street. First arriving companies reported heavy smoke from a 4-story industrial building and requested a second alarm almost immediately. Due to the size and age of the building, the fire grew to three alarms. A worker was performing a cutting operation when sparks ignited the coolant being used, forcing the six employees to evacuate the structure. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries. The fire was contained to the first floor and knocked down by the responding fire crews within 30 minutes of their arrival.
RISING FROM THE ASHES
Many machines and equipment were destroyed in the fire; but owner Tom Hassett had a vision that even a fire couldn’t keep down. He asked his friends and vendors for help and he was able to keep his company running. Within a year he not only rebuilt what he had lost but he also continued with his plans for growth and added the most advanced multi-axis machines on the market — the Eurotech Eltie Rapido machines. He rose from the ashes, continued with the vision, retained his customers and procured new accounts.
T & L’s Vision — New MARKET DIRECTION
Four years before this fire, T & L Automatics took a new market direction. They decided to search out better precision work in higher markets, such as medical, aerospace, defense, and fluid power. The owner Tom Hassett has an entrepreneur vision which drew him to the Eurotech products. Anticipating the change in market demand, he took a big step from screw machine work to advanced multi-axis CNC machining. He didn’t step gradually or slowly; he jumped right into one of the fastest, most advanced CNC machines in the industry — the Eurotech Elite. He bought a Eurotech 835SLY to begin this new market direction. He trained on his own machine with the assistance of the Eurotech engineers and began producing extreme precision parts within weeks.
“As we got into this niche market a little further we found the Eurotech dual turret machine, the 420SLLY. That machine is absolutely phenomenal. A part on our other multi-axis CNC machines that had a cycle time of 74 seconds we run in 60 seconds on the Eurotech (an 18% savings)” —Tom Hassett, Owner of T & L
T & L invested in four Eurotech models: these machines not only reduced the machinist set-up time and increased production rate, it also eliminated multiple set-ups, time and errors. Feature-to-feature accuracy improved, shorter and more rigid tools could be used; higher spindle/cutting tool speeds were achieved while reducing the load on the cutting tool — this allowed T & L Automatics to take on the toughest machining challenges. They could compete in the higher end markets that required high precision complex machining with microscopic tolerances.
THE LEARNING CURVE INTO THEIR NEW MARKET DIRECTION
Tom explained the learning curve that T & L experienced, ”The learning curve for the multiple-axis Eurotech’s was exciting. It only took a couple of weeks to understand being careful with commands for movement is the first order of business. While being trained by Eurotech in those two weeks, we got our first projects running really well and meeting expectations. Once an experienced CNC person understands the tool paths of each turret, spindle and slide the fun begins. We have had improvements every week. All of our personnel are making suggestions to reduce cycle times or improve tool life. The learning experience needs to always continue because what these machines will do seems limitless. They’re great! Pat Cochren and Larry Greenawalt of Eurotech have been terrific. We have grown quite a ways.”
“The part we produce on the Eurotechs vs. other CNC lathes is long with a through hole. To get the drills working on the main and sub spindles at the same time was only possible with the Eurotech because of the sub dropping down so there is no interference with tooling patterns. Standard lathes have a fixed in line position between the main and sub spindles and getting two long tools, one working on the main and one on the sub, was impossible in this case. So we were waiting for each drill to finish on our other CNC machines but with the Eurotech the time was saved with both drills working at the same time.”
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
”With a fast machine,” he explained, “you can offset the cost and over time get the machine for free. Return on assets is a main stay of concern in the manufacturing business. The formulas for this are simple. More parts per hour at the same labor charge for each piece and your return per hour is higher. If the labor content of a part is $3.00 each and you invest in a machine that will generate 20 pieces per hour instead of a cheaper unit that will produce 17 pieces per hour the return for the more expensive machine is $9.00 per hour. Given a 40 hour week and two shifts that’s an increase in labor dollars of $720.00 per week or X 4.3 of $3096.00 per month. From here you just need to look at debt service. How much more a month is the more expensive machine costing me. If the faster machine will cost $1000.00 more a month and all works well there is $2000.00 a month to use to reduce debt or put on the bottom line. Thus the parts per hour offset your machine payment, i.e., the higher technology gives you better throughput and that pays for the machine.”
About T & L Automatics:
As one of the nation’s leading screw machine companies and CNC shops, T & L Automatics has built a reputation over 30 years of manufacturing quality precision parts and innovative ideas that have helped their customers become more competitive in their markets. T&L Automatics, Inc. is a privately held company owned and operated by Thomas Hassett. Tom grew up in Rochester, NY and served in the US Army from 1967 to 1970 when he returned to the area to start a new career. In 1975, with the sale of his race car and loan from his dad of $3,500, Tom founded T & L; the name came from T for Tom and L for Lee, his dad’s name. They rented a garage in a industrial complex that they still own and is part of the 120,000 sq ft that they manufacture in today. When the company started it did so with one Davenport Screw Machine and one non paid employee — Tom. Tom made parts during the day and washed, packaged and labeled product at night.
Today, T & L Automatics has 120,000 square feet of mfg space, a variety of 80-90 machines, lunch and locker rooms to accommodate up to 300 employees, is QS-9000 and ISO 9002 certified, and is a registered trading partner with the Central Contractor Registry to pursue opportunities with the federal government. For more information on T & L Automatics, go to www.tandlautomatics.com or for more information on Eurotech Elite, visit the Eurotech page on Machinery Sales Co. HERE or call us at (800) 588-8111.