Founder and president of US-based Minic Precision, Mike Gajewski, grew up ‘Swiss’, working on Tornos cam-operated machines from the young age of 19. Contacted for an apprenticeship by a local machine shop that operated the machines, the apprenticeship turned into a full-time job for Mr Gajewski, who eventually worked his way up to the plant and production manager role.
However, after nine years, he decided the time was right to open his own machine shop, so in 1992, Mr Gajewski rented a 2,000ft2
space in Woodstock, Illinios, purchased six Tornos and Bechler cam machines and established Minic Precision to meet the growing demand for electronics assemblies requiring high precision contacts (Minic is an acronym after his two sons’ names, Michael and Nicholas).
By 1995, he had filled up his shopfloor with 28 Tornos and Bechler cam machines. Some of the early Tornos cam machine purchases included M7s, R10s, and R125s and many of these original cam machines are still in operation sitting alongside three more recently purchased Tornos Swiss CNC lathes.
Minic Precision has expanded over the years, and this had led to the purchase and relocation of the business to a larger facility in nearby Spring Grove.
The company’s quality control programme and ISO 9001:2015 certification has been a major factor in the company’s continued growth and the commitment to quality is still evident in the components produced on the Tornos machines today. Aside from quality management, value-added engineering is also what Minic Precision says separates it from the competition.
The company’s speciality is in micro-machined parts — when end users in quality and design-focused industries such as medical, electronics, automotive and aerospace, bring their component requirements to Mr Gajewski, Minic Precision ensures a smooth flow from design to prototyping and production.
The company helps end users to not only select the best materials but offers expert machining and design processes to help realise the highest cost savings for its customers. This has helped Minic Precision build key relationships with electronics assemblers, medical companies, the US military and with customers in the automotive and aerospace fields.
In order to continue providing higher cost savings and increased efficiency over time, Minic realised the need to expand his production capability when he was getting cross-over work that was better-suited to CNC machining.
In 2004, the company originally went to another sliding head lathe manufacturer as Tornos was not offering the entry-level to mid-range machines, but more high-end lathes. However, shortly after the purchase, Minic realised that it was not on a par with the quality that has always been the company’s driving success. In 2015, it began the search for a high-quality and rigid mid-range CNC lathe, just as Tornos brought out the Swiss GT series.
As Minic puts quality at the forefront of what it manufactures, it needed a machine that lived up to the task. The company’s purchasing strategy has always been to invest in something that is very robust, reliable and can hold tight tolerances with quick chip-to-chip times.
It also wanted a machine that could run over 10,000rpm on the main and counter spindles. The long-awaited solution had arrived, and Mike Gajewski visited the Tornos factory in Moutier, Switzerland in the summer of 2016 to see a demonstration of the new Swiss GT machine.
After seeing the production and assembly of the spindles, guide bushings and the overall Swiss manufacturing process from design to finish, Mr Gajewski saw first-hand the quality manufacturing of a highly rigid, stable and precise Tornos CNC Swiss lathe.
While other manufacturers may offer similar style sliding head lathes, Mr Gajewski explained: “Everything from the weight of the Tornos machine to the way the spindle is built, gives the Swiss GT13 durability for cutting tough materials, including the many exotic stainless steels we use, with no chatter. This is a major win-win for Minic and sets us apart from our competition.”
In early 2018, Minic made its first Tornos CNC Swiss sliding head lathe purchase with the Swiss GT13 and this was quickly followed up three months later with the purchase of a Swiss DT13.
The investment decision was an easy one, as both machines could be equipped with the same sets of tools after they purchased the TISIS module (machine communication and programming software) to use across both machines. Both machines are being used to manufacture connectors, as well as other small parts.
On these two machines, they can run at higher speeds with beryllium copper, while still holding tight tolerances. According to Mr Gajewski, the impeccable surface finish, which was difficult to achieve previously, is now made possible on his Tornos CNC lathes.
In July 2019, Minic purchased a second Swiss GT13 and Mr Gajewski expects to purchase a new SwissNano 7 in the coming months.