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In 2017, the Sehmbi family decided to expand their decades-old fabricating business by opening another shop. J.R. Sehmbi would assume management of the newly formed Mill Finish Industries of Brampton, ON, while brother Mani and their father would continue to oversee nearby Millomat Stampings, founded by the elder Sehmbi in 1985. None of them anticipated where it would lead.

 What’s in a name?

When asked about the name, J.R. Sehmbi explained that Mill Finish Industries’ original mandate was to focus on Millomat Stampings’ finishing and polishing work. Now chief executive officer, he would also take over the production and expansion of a product line the family established in 2012—fixturing tables, jig tables, and accessories—as well as some of the company’s lower volume contract work.

Somewhere along the way, however, Mill Finish evolved into a full-blown job shop. That became abundantly clear earlier this year when Sehmbi invested in the company’s first fiber laser, a 3000-watt Mitsubishi SR-F from MC Machinery Systems Canada Inc. Doing so was an easy decision, he explains, noting that fiber offers twice the speed of CO2 at half the operating cost.

He should know. Millomat Stampings bought its first laser cutter from Mitsubishi—a 3500-watt CO2—eight years ago, followed by a 6000-watt laser almost two years later. Sehmbi spent many hours in front of both machines, becoming a die-hard Mitsubishi fan in the process. So when he opened Mill Finish, the decision over which laser to invest in was an easy one.

“We have looked into other brands of lasers over the years,” he says. “They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it came to Mitsubishi, the quality was unbeatable. We never had any problems. As for the decision to move away from CO2, fiber’s benefits more than compensate for the higher price tag. The operating costs are far lower. There's absolutely no maintenance or associated downtime. And like I said, the speed and edge quality are phenomenal. It's a win-win situation all around.”


The timing could have been much better. Within weeks of bringing the machine online, the pandemic was in full swing. “It was probably the worst possible time to spend three-quarters of a million dollars,” Sehmbi says. "I have to say, though, that here again, MC Machinery Systems hit a home run for us. Without any prompting, they approached me and said, ‘Hey, times are tough. We understand what's going on. Take whatever time you need to get your feet on the ground before starting payments.’ To me, that really shows how personal a company can get, especially when working with a small shop like mine.”

Fortunately for Sehmbi, the pandemic itself prompted some job opportunities. Mill Finish was soon using the new fiber laser to process social distancing signs, parts for sneeze guards, and medical-grade stainless-steel tanks for area businesses and pharmaceutical firms. Since then, the company’s regular aerospace, aviation, and military work has picked up, as have orders from a longstanding customer in the digital media display industry.

The road ahead

Despite the rocky start, Sehmbi’s continued success has quite literally opened a new door for his small company. Beginning in November, Mill Finish will relocate to a 929 sq m (10,000 sq. ft.) facility in nearby Orangeville. Sehmbi will then eliminate his night shift and bring those employees onto days in preparation for lights-out manufacturing. That's because he recently made another big equipment investment—an 8,000-watt GX-F advanced fiber cutter with an Element R compact warehouse automation system from Mitsubishi.

“At the end of the day, the biggest bottleneck is always your sheet metal processing, especially for us,” Sehmbi says. “That's why beam on-time is critical. However, we noticed some time ago that we would never eclipse the 50 per cent mark, not with ongoing worker shortages, delays in material handling, and so on. The only way to get around this and increase laser utilization is through automation.”

He expects the new system will bring his beam on-time figure to 80 per cent. And predicting that his next bottleneck would be the bending station, Sehmbi also invested in a Diamond BH Series press brake with 4.1 metre (161 in.) bend length, together with an offline programming and simulation system, also from MC Machinery. Lastly, as if all that wasn't enough excitement, Mill Finish will upgrade its ERP software to JobBOSS from E2, then integrate it with his new programming system.

Says Sehmbi, “We’re growing exponentially day by day, and want to be the best we can in order to accommodate everybody possible. The first fiber machine had already made us much more competitive than we once were; automation will only take us to the next level. So yeah, we have our work cut out for us over the next few months, but I’m confident we’re making the right move and have the right equipment to do it with.”

Kip Hanson is a contributing editor to SHOP Metalworking Technology and author of the books Machining for Dummies and Fabricating for Dummies

MC Machinery Systems Inc.:

Mill Finish Industries:

Millomat Stampings:

Mitsubishi Electric:

Bridging the Data Gap

by Ryan Boehm, OMAX R&D Engineer

Getting ready for Industry 4.0

Feds invest $49 billion for aerospace innovation

The Federal Government of Canada is investing $49 billion in aerospace innovation to support competitiveness in the sector.

Western Canada easing out of economic doldrums: Report

Alberta and Saskatchewan expected to grow, albeit at a slow pace in 2017; Quebec seeing economic momentum

SMTCL invests in North American manufacturing

SMTCL is the latest machine tool builder to announce it's investing in manufacturing in North America.

Most recently, DMG MORI opened its manufacturing facility in Davis, CA. And Haas, which has always manufactured its machines in California at a 1 million sq ft facility, recently announced its intention to expand its facility to accommodate growing machine tool demand. Mazak Corp., which has been manufacturing in North America for 40 years, has expanded its manufacturing operations 15 times, most recently in 2012 with a 200,000 sq ft addition, increasing its total floor space to 800,000 sq ft.

SMTCL's COO Jerry McCarty says SMTCL, considered among the world's largest machine tool builders, will be manufacturing in the US by the end of 2015.

A manufacturing factory in North America will complement SMTCL's current manufacturing facilities in Europe (Germany) and Asia (China). "The United States was chosen because that is where our customers are and we know that we can find workers and vendors that have the dedication to quality that we need", McCarty stated in a press conference at IMTS earlier this week. "We will employ Americans and this facility will be managed by Americans. I can also tell you that although we will continue to use the world's best components in our machines, we will also use a number of local US vendors to provide contract machining, fabricating, and electronics."

The site of the new manufacturing facility has not been determined, but McCarty says SMTCL-Americas will begin manufacturing VMCs and expand with other products as the market dictates. 

SMTCL plans on purchasing or building a 100,000 square foot facility and employing between 100 to 120 employees. "We will need manufacturing engineers, machine assembly technicians, and service technicians, as well as purchasing, accounting, and general management professionals," said McCarty.

McCarty added that he hopes to be manufacturing in the US by the end of 2015. "These machines will be shipped to our customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and we look forward to helping our customers compete in the world economy."

SMTCL produces 80,000 machine tools each year and has revenues of $2.9 billion. The company has more than 300 products in its machine tool line-up.



Profiles of Success #2

by Mary scianna

Two fabrication shops. Two different punch tooling systems

CMTS 2019: Manufacturing at Work

Despite the hovering economic challenges, thousands of manufacturers attended the 2019 Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS), which took place September 30 to October 3 at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON. 

IMTS 2018 a record breaker

Organizers of IMTS 2018, which took place in Chicago September 10-15, say that this year’s event set all-time records.

CMTS 2019 keynotes to address IP, labour challenges

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Innovative Toronto bicycle manufacturer adopts automated manufacturing

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Tungaloy adds Toronto-area sales engineer

Tungaloy has announced the addition of Jason Bainbridge to the Tungaloy GTA team as sales and application engineer.

Bystronic hits manufacturing milestone

Fabricating machine manufacturer Bystronic has hit a major North American milestone as the first-ever laser cutting machine assembled at Bystronic’s new facility in Hoffman Estates, IL has rolled off the line. 

BLM Group announces new sales managers for Canada, U.S. regions

Jon Tibbets (left) and Scott Osborne

BLM Group USA has announced the appointment of two new regional sales managers to help develop sales of the company’s laser tube cutting systems, benders and machining equipment product lines.

Bombardier's CSeries: Test confirm fuel efficiency claims

Tests on Bombardier Aerospace’s much talked-about CSeries aircraft prove what the company has claimed all along: this new “green” aircraft is indeed a fuel efficient design that offers a 20 per cent fuel burn advantage and significantly reduced emissions.

"Waldo" the robot boosts productivity

Mobile robot colleagues on wheels increase productivity and worker safety at Scott Fetzer Electrical Group The fleet of Universal Robots will now receive daily work orders to solve ever-changing tasks with high mix - low volume electronics manufacturer Scott Fetzer Electrical Group (SFEG) in Tennessee. The collaborative robots have optimized production by 20 percent, taking over monotonous and potentially hazardous tasks from employees now reallocated to more rewarding jobs.

Weakest manufacturing growth in almost two years

Canadian manufacturing growth moderated in December, according to the latest seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index.

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