Teton Machine company, An Employee-Owned Company, Leverages New Technologies and Best in Class Manufacturing To Remain Globally Competitive.
Teton Machine Company is a precision machine shop located in picturesque Payette, just 60 miles northwest of Boise, Idaho. The company, celebrating 60 years in business, manufactures high precision machine parts supporting a diverse industry base that includes aerospace, defense, medical, oil and gas exploration, test equipment and the semiconductor industry. Teton Machine Company’s team has expertise in a wide range of materials including steels, aluminum, plastics, titanium and the super alloys like inconel and waspalloy.
The company differentiates itself from many other machine shops around the United States in a number of ways, including: • It is 100% employee owned • ISO 9001:2008 certification • It purchases the most high-tech, automated machine tool equipment that can be found • It embraces best in class manufacturing principles • Its customers span the globe, with products shipped as far as Asia and Europe
Teton Machine opened in 1952 in a facility in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Over time, the company’s largest customers were based in Idaho, and it became advantageous to move the company to Idaho. And so in 1979, owner Rick Rupp moved Teton Machining Solutions to Payette, Idaho. Rick always planned to structure the company as an employee-owned business. In 2005, he pursued selling part of the company to his long term employees, and by 2007 the transition to a 100% employee-owned company (ESOP - Employee Stock Ownership Plan) was completed. Andy Oyervides, president of the company says, “It is a known fact that employee ownership increases production and profitability, and it improves employees’ dedication and sense of ownership. We also knew when entering into an employee owned entity, the key variable in making it work is a high degree of involvement in work-level decisions. We’ve done just that. Our employee owners tend to stay with the company and they participate in key decisions for the company.”
High Tech Machine Tool Purchase
Andy says, “At Teton, we are not afraid to purchase new technology if it helps us to reduce costs including labor, build better parts, reduce our lead times and increase our profitability.” He continued, “The machinery we are purchasing today allows us to manufacture parts that are so much more complex than those we were making even a couple of years ago. The key to becoming locally and globally competitive is to minimize the labor content of your operations. And the key to plant-floor labor optimization is automation. That is just the strategy at Teton Machining Solutions.” Teton Machine Company could be, for all intensive purposes, a Mazak showroom. Andy says, “When we find a really good supplier for our machine tool needs, we stick with the brand. Smith Machinery Co., our dealer for the Mazak line of machine tool products, is outstanding. They sell a great product in Mazak, and their service and support is exceptional.” Andy says the turning point in purchasing his first Mazak 12 years ago was his interaction with Clark Smith, owner of Smith Machinery. “When I met Clark at his facility in Salt Lake City, UT, Clark demonstrated a Mazak machine. Clark’s knowledge is exceptional -- he even machined a part for me. This impressed me in an machine dealer- owner, and I find that my interactions with the entire Smith Machinery team are positive.”
During last year, Teton Machine Company took delivery of a new Mazak horizontal machining center and a barfeeder for one of their Mazak dual spindle multi axis lathes. The new horizontal machining center incorporates a 240 tool magazine and is connected to their sixteen position automatic pallet changer (Mazak Palletech). Andy says the addition of this second machine - the first incorporates a 120 tool magazine - to their pallet system will more than triple the capacity for the cell. He continued, “We’ll be able to develop fixtures and processes on the first machine while the second is running production and we’ll be able to utilize the automatic pallet changer to run production while employees are otherwise occupied or not present.” Mazak’s Palletech includes a simple, yet effective scheduler, which allows jobs to be queued and prioritized for efficient “lights out” operation. Yet, when the prototype job or the emergency delivery arises, as it always does, it can be given top priority in the schedule without the need for re-organizing other work. Andy says that at Teton, there are typically 30-40 jobs set up on the Palletech on a regular basis. He adds that previously, 4 machinists were manning 4 machines, while today the new Mazak horizontal machining center is manned by one machinist, with output equal to or better than the 4 machining centers’ output combined. Andy says the Palletech cells are an effective strategy for both low-volume and high-volume requirements. Resident pallets and part fixtures make “one-off ” manufacturing economical and tombstones with multi-part fixtures serve higher production manufacturing requirements. Clark Smith of Smith Machinery Co. adds that industry statistics show a typical vertical machining center spindle will be cutting about 25% of the time in a typical 8-hour day. With a Mazak Palletech cell, spindle utilization can be increased to more than 85% and the machine can run unattended up to 24 hours.
Best in Class Manufacturing Principles
Teton Machine Company recently completed a re-registration audit of their Quality Management System to ISO 9001:2008 standards. Teton Machine originally became ISO 9001 registered in 2005. Additionally, the company practices Kaizen. Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (“muri”), and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity. Andy says the team at Teton first began practicing Lean manufacturing concepts and Kaizen in 2008. Teton Machine Company has also implemented Kanban. Kanban is a Japanese word that means “visual card”. Typically, Kanban is the term used for the visual and physical signaling system that ties together the whole Lean Production system. Approximately 40% of Teton’s customers participate in the Kanban system. For more information on a superior high precision machine shop, contact Teton Machine Company at 208-642-9344, or visit their website at www.tetonmachine.com.
41 West Guest Avenue Salt Lake City, UT 84115 Phone: 801-263-6403 Fax: 801-263-6404 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org