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Small, New England Shop Finds Way to Improve Accuracy and Productivity Without Cutting Employees

New Eurotech machines have eliminated all manual operations, sealed in better accuracy and kept a team-driven, family environment at Seekonk Manufacturing in Massachusetts. "It's amazing; you put in a raw piece of steel and it comes out looking like a jewel with the Eurotechs."

Not every business can say they have affected our world in as many ways as Seekonk Manufacturing. Whether you realize it or not, Seekonk Manufacturing has changed your life. Seekonk makes tools that are used with orthopedics, plumbing, piano tuners, tractor- trailers, and sniper rifles. A quick look at just one of their tools exemplifies the company's versatility. Their Preset "T" Slip Handle type tool, the BT-2, is used by Brownells to torque their rifles. Printing companies purchase the same tool to torque the blankets on their printing presses. For over 70 years, Seekonk has consistently made the finest precision tools available becoming a world renowned manufacturer.

Seekonk Manufacturing's 3rd generation owner Rick Dobras

 

 

While the wide reach of their products might conjure up a mental image of a big, corporate conglomerate, Seekonk is a family business. The company began 73 years ago in the small New England town of Seekonk, Massachusetts. Three generations later, the same family still runs Seekonk with a fourth generation already in place learning the business. Over the years, their ability to prioritize customer service and quality has allowed them to grow and thrive.

Co-proprietor Denise Dobras said, "Coming from Seekonk, a very small town, we have a lot of New England pride. Luckily, our company is a team. Everyone works together. No one is ever me, me, me. It is always a team. It's always we." A typical morning for owner Rick Dobras and his wife Denise might include Denise organizing the pasty order for coffee break for the employees. Meanwhile, Rick might be collaborating with the company toolmaker on their latest project. Because of the team atmosphere, the employees give the company their best; and their customers reap the benefits of quality tools made in the U.S.A. with pride and care.

Eurotech 545SLY Model

 

 

The Challenge

When the company began 73 years ago, humans built every tool with brute force. Rick Dobras has spent the last 39 years watching each operation drop out of the hands of workers and into the mouths of machines. The result has been the ability to produce more tools with better accuracy.

In 2007, tools that had previously needed 11 operations were down to just a few. Still, the last operations required manual labor. The challenge with manually finishing a tool was keeping a consistent level of accuracy. A worker's eyesight or a momentary distraction can compromise the finished product.

To Seekonk Manufacturing accuracy is everything. When you make tools that save, protect, and enrich lives, it has to be. The concern was particularly great in the making of their cams. Seekonk produces thousands of cams every month to make their "L" handled torque tools. If the cams are not accurate, the tool will not succeed. The cam, a round cylinder with curved edges, goes inside the "L" handled tools. It is a slip type tool. The factory presets the tool to a torque value. When a customer uses this hand tool, it will torque to the preset amount. The cam causes it to slip after the torque.

Seekonk Mfg makes tools that are used with orthopedics, plumbing, piano tuners, tractor- trailers, and sniper rifles.

 

 

Improving Accuracy

Seekonk Manufacturing turned to Eurotech in 2007 to help them eliminate the manual operations and seal in better accuracy. The Eurotech machines (735SLY and 545SLY models) eliminated the need for manual labor. According to Denise Dobras, "It's amazing; you put in a raw piece of steel and it comes out looking like a jewel with the Eurotechs."

"The cams are the precision part to preset our torque tools. If the cams aren't made perfectly and in one machine operation (which eliminates all these other second ops procedures) then the accuracy of our tool fails. That's another way that we are a leader in the industry. We have the highest accuracy per tool. Some of our competitors are at ±6% or ±10%. Some of our tools are ±2%, ±3%, or ±4% which is huge in the industry," said Denise.

Eurotech 735SLY Model

 

 

Both Rick and Denise Dobras attribute their tools' accuracy to their Eurotech machines. Rick Dobras compares the Eurotech machines to Mercedes Benz. "There are other machines that will get the job done, but not with the speed and accuracy of Eurotech."

"They are very accurate. They have the ability to have all kinds of crazy tooling. You stick bars in and finished parts come out with the logo on and everything," said Dobras.

Results

Even though their Eurotech machines have allowed them to significantly reduce operations needed for making their tools, Seekonk has stayed true to the to their team-driven, family work environment. They have not cut employees. Instead, they have used their Eurotech machines to create new lines of products and improve on their previous products.

For instance, they have eliminated their Inline Torque-2 series. Now, they have an IT-4, IT-5, and IT-6. Eurotech machines make these new products possible. For example, a company in California has purchased hundreds of the IT-4 to tighten the bolts needed to hold up the glass railings on cruise ships. "Even when out at sea, Seekonk Manufacturing and Eurotech are making lives better and safer."

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Eurotech

Seekonk Mfg.

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