The Okuma Multus B550 combines the abilities of a mill and a lathe, and will allow the company to manufacture parts — particularly gears — that once had to be contracted out.
“Our equipment has to have not only the precision of a Swiss watch, but the ruggedness of a German tank,” said Executive Vice President Jock Buta during a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at the plant.
Butech Bliss manufactures custom-built rolling mills, coil processing equipment, extrusion and forging machinery for the metals industry, including scrap choppers, trimmers, and shears.
“There will be parts that used to take us 50, 60 hours to make and, because of set up times in between, it could take up to eight weeks in calendar days,” says Buta. “Now we can turn it around in 17 hours with a single setup. So what was eight weeks to make a part, in an emergency situation we can turn around in one night.”
Plant manager Matt Joing says the time to routinely perform some tasks could be cut down by as much as two thirds. Two of Butech’s operators have been training on the machine for about a month already.
“The technology that it uses requires a much higher skill level for an operator and programmer than the machines we run today,” says Joing. “This is not the type of machine that someone comes out of high school and within a week or two they’re proficient.”
Joing estimates it could take another six months to a year before the operators will be up to speed on the machine’s functionality. Once that happens, Butech will be one of only a few manufacturers in the region capable of producing complex parts this quickly.
“There are three or four other machines of this size in northern Ohio and ours is the only one with the gear cutting package. So we’re at the forefront of manufacturing technology in the region,” says Joing.
The investment is part of what Buta calls a “broad strategic initiative” for the company, which was founded in 1985.
“By February of this year we were free from all long-term debt. And now, we are investing more internally in new equipment.”
The goal, Buta says, is to expand the machining capabilities of the entire organization. And that will likely mean purchasing more machines in the future. “We now have the infrastructure relative to buildings and facilities. Now our focus is going to be on internal manufacturing, machining centers and other technologies,” he says.
“In three to five years, the face of our manufacturing operation will look quite different.”
Pictured: Jock Buta is executive vice president of Butech Bliss.
Copyright 2016 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.