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North Carolina job shop seeks to diversify and expand customer base in aerospace and other markets; boasts “large shop ability, small shop agility”
James Tool began as a five-man machine shop in 1987, founded by James “Bud” Toner and has grown steadily, over the years. Today, under the leadership of Bud’s son Jeff Toner, the shop has become a supplier of quality machined components to Fortune 500 companies and prime suppliers to the aerospace, heavy equipment, automotive, oil & gas, nuclear and transportation industries. James Tool currently comprises three manufacturing centers, namely engineer/build hydraulic workholding, CNC production machining and precision short run CNC machining. The shop recently achieved the highly valued AS9100 registration for its manufacturing protocols and processes.
As Jeff Toner explains, “We were driven by a need for market diversification and expansion of our current business, building on the strengths established from our aerospace success. Our goal is to secure more business in market sectors that demand the same precision and production efficiencies as our aerospace customers.” He also explained how the company, already recognized for its in-house engineering of hydraulic workholding systems and its precision CNC machining capabilities, sought to obtain the AS9100 registration as a further value-add to its current and potential customers in the aerospace market, one of the fastest-growing manufacturing sectors in the Southeast.
James Tool produces parts in prototype, one-off, short run and production quantities, using 4- and 5-axis CNC machine tools, from high and low carbon steels, nickel alloys, aluminum, stainless, thermoplastics and engineered aerospace materials alike.
In seeking the AS9100 registration, the company engaged in a rigorous process that included reviewing and understanding all the standard requirements, evaluating all current processes, gap analysis program (GAP) utilization, revision and implementation of all necessary processes, procedures, manuals, documentation and training, as well as the ongoing evaluation and continuous improvements in the processes and protocols used at James Tool.
In assessing the current state of the company, Toner observes, “We use state-of-the-art CNC machine tools of the latest generation, plus highly advance metrology solutions to achieve and maintain consistent part quality. We have 5-axis vertical machining centers, high-speed milling centers and multi-pallet workstations. In addition, we offer wire EDM, thermal deburring, CNC torch cutting, vibratory stress relief and a black oxide coating system in-house.” To enable this expansion of services and in anticipation of future growth, James Tool took a bold step in the current economy and recently completed additions and expansions onto its statewide facilities in North Carolina. One new facility in Morganton is 30,000 square feet, while another facility houses a new training complex for the company’s workforce, currently over 120 employees. Overall, James Tool now occupies in excess of 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and service facilities in Morganton and Columbus, North Carolina.
CAD (SolidWorks®) and CAM (MasterCam®) programming is all done in-house to support the CNC machining at James Tool.
Looking to the future for James Tool, Toner concludes, “We are a very pro-active company. We make a decided effort to acquire the latest machine tools and other technologies, so that we can continue to provide our customers the very highest quality products in the fastest possible turnaround times. Hand in hand with the machining and metrology advancements, however, must be a corresponding program of training for our current and future employees. Highly trained people create a better environment, where high quality work, safety and production efficiencies lead to the very best experience for our customers. This is an ongoing commitment at James Tool.” The new AS9100 registration and substantial investments made by the company in both new machinery and new facilities are further evidence of this fact, according to Jeff Toner.
For more information on this story, please contact:
James Tool Machine & Engineering, Inc.
130 Reep Drive
Morganton, NC 28655
Attention: Jeff Toner, President