R&M was founded by Mark Merk (left) after his previous employer closed its doors.
shifted his focus to sales once the company was bought by David Underwood (right) in 2008.
says the QTN 350 MY's Y axis and live tooling enables the company to combine multiple machining operations, including milling, drilling, boring, tapping and more, on a single platform.
Based in Milton, Wisconsin, R&M was founded in 2004 when Mark Merk received word that the automated assembly equipment manufacturer where he'd worked for 25 years would soon close.
Similarly to R&M
's later efforts to invest amid a dire recession, Mr. Merk saw opportunity in a situation that would likely cause others to despair.
"At age 50, I didn't want to have to move my family in pursuit of a job, and I knew that a lot of other people affected by the plant closure felt the same way," he
, a provider of precision machining, engineered assembly and fabrication services.
To start the business, Mr. Merk
purchased a facility with 20,000 square feet of floor space and 2,000 square feet of office space, along with much of the equipment used in the former plant.
The company's first 10 employees were handpicked from the most talented and experienced of those who had recently been laid off from his
Two years later, that initial workforce had doubled amid a steadily increasing revenue and customer base.
In 2008, the company was purchased by a customer, David Underwood, and Mr. Merk
shifted into the role of vise president of sales.
In addition to high precision, Mr. Merk
says the turning machines' greatest benefits are their Y axes and live tooling, which enable combining multiple operations on a single platform.
The horizontals, which replaced older models at R&M
, feature heat compensation features, software packages and other technologies not available even a decade ago.
says the machines' integrated Palletech pallet systems are especially useful for saving time.
"You can stage 24 different jobs, hit the cycle start button and walk away," he
cites one project for the Department of Defense
as an example of the sort of work the shop has been able to pursue since investing in these machines.
The job involves parts made of a special grade of steel that require tolerances ranging to ±0.0003 inch and 30-Ra surface finishes.
In the past, these complex components would have required operations across a series of machines.
Now, the company can machine the parts complete with only two: the HCN 6800 and QTN 350 MY.
"A lot of that is due to the live tooling and Y-axis capabilities on the QTN 350 MY, which eliminate a substantial amount of setup time" Mr. Merk
As for the company's foray into wind energy work, Mr. Merk
cites a family of large bearing sleeves that fit to the main shaft of a system's generator.
Demonstrating this achievement to the wind-systems producer not only won the job, but also started a relationship that continues to pay dividends, Mr. Merk