From one to another!
MARTEN MACHINING LOOKS BACK ON NEARLY THREE DECADES OF PRECISION MACHINING
When Al Marten set up his business, he started with nothing but a passion to make things and a keen eye for detail.
Like many other American entrepreneurs, Marten's experience as an employee convinced him that he could be successful as his own boss. After eight years working as a toolmaker and mould builder, 1984 was the year in which he reckoned the time was ripe to found his own business. He had nobody working for him and no customers, and the only location he owned and could turn into a workshop was a double garage in Stevens Point in Wisconsin. The recurring theme in Marten's career had always been: "OK, so how does that work?" And that has not changed to this day – Marten is still consumed by curiosity and the desire to learn and make, which is why his business has expanded and he continues to leave a lasting impression on people around him.
PUT TO THE TEST
In just three years the company had grown to the point when its capacity had to be increased through the purchase of the first CNC machine. Whatever machine he was finally going to buy, Marten was determined to put it through all the hoops. One of those suppliers who made it onto the shortlist was a German CNC machine tool manufacturer he had noticed in an advertisement – Hermle AG. Before taking a final decision, he decided to test the machine using a sample. During his meeting with the Hermle representative, the latter first had a close look at the test program for five long minutes. Then he said: "OK, and this is where WE come in." The two of them then went through every detail of the program, looking for possible problems and finding workarounds in advance. That took nearly 45 minutes, and then the time had come to mill the sample piece. Marten was duly impressed when the test piece came out of the machine, exactly as he wanted it and displaying the required precision after just a single run through. And because Marten was then able to manufacture highest-precision products, his company skyrocketed. Even after 30 years he still enjoys looking back to his first encounter with Hermle. "I COOPERATED with the representative for 45 minutes – and learned something."
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO LEARN
What he learned with the purchase of his first Hermle machine simply fanned the flame of his "OK, so how does that work?" curiosity, and in the end that led to the whole company dedicating itself to training CNC machine operators. Over the years, Marten Machining has given dozens of prospective machine operators the opportunity to prove their mettle as trainers. Today, there are several fully automated Hermle machines operating at Marten Machining; in the course of time over 20 have been purchased. This makes the company from northern Wisconsin a shining example for successful training of highly qualified specialists. "There is always something to learn," says Marten. "Even after all those years that I've been in this business, I'm still learning, and we're unbelievably proud of the work we do for our customers. But being able to pass on this knowledge and to open up learning paths for the next generation gives me the same amount of satisfaction as everything that I've already achieved during my working life."
THE JOURNEY GOES ON
Marten Machining is continuing to prosper, 30 years after the purchase of the first Hermle machine. The company premises are now almost 2800 square metres in size and the days of the double garage are almost lost in the mists of time. Marten is expecting delivery of his 22nd Hermle machine in November.