Since 1951, Stauble Machine & Tool Company has been building its reputation of excellence in quality and customer satisfaction. Today, by amassing complete turnkey tooling and metal stamping capabilities and demonstrating a willingness to open locations where customers need it the most, Stauble’s tradition of excellence continues.
“At Stauble, we have the ability to manufacture tooling for customers and modify or rebuild the equipment they’re going to use to run the tooling,” says Gregg Stauble, SMT’s owner. “We can supply metal stamped parts from our internally fabricated tooling, in contrast to many of our competitors who usually acquire the tooling from outside vendors. Taken together, these capabilities translate to complete turnkey solutions for our customers.”
When two of SMT’s valued customers, two of the largest appliance OEMs in the world, made the decision in 1999 to manufacture refrigerators in Mexico for export to the U.S. market, they selected SMT as a partner. In response to its customers’ need for a local supplier in Central Mexico, SMT established a joint venture with Dytisa de Mexico in 2000. The new partnership, known as Stauble-Dytisa, is 95-percent owned by Stauble and operates out of a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Queretaro, Mexico.
While the initial reason for expanding into Mexico was to help its two biggest appliance-related customers, Stauble has begun to realize other benefits from the joint venture. Stauble is currently manufacturing parts for automotive OEMs located in Mexico and is supplying parts to other appliance OEMs as well. “We’re in Queretaro to service large appliance and automotive OEMs,” says Stauble. “Our other principal reason for opening a plant in Mexico was to help generate more business for our Louisville facility. We wanted a Mexican plant that would work in conjunction with our Louisville installation for the ultimate benefit of both.”
Stauble Machine & Tool was founded originally as Tompkins & Stauble Tool, Die and Machine Co. in 1951 by Gregg Stauble’s father, Don Stauble, and a partner, Roy Tompkins. Don Stauble bought out Tompkins in 1962 and changed the company’s name to Stauble Machine & Tool. Since 1951, Stauble has grown from a one-building, 5,000-square-foot die shop, to a company that boasts four plants with 120,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
Stauble started out initially as a designer and builder of tooling, dies, jigs and fixtures, and has added to its capabilities over the years. Today, one of SMT’s strength is its experience in the design and manufacture of custom tooling used in the production of components for various industries. Custom tooling includes metal stamping dies, special applications machinery and fixturing for the mass production of metal parts.
From concept to finished product, SMT engineers work closely with customers’ toolmakers, machinists, and quality control personnel to assure complete satisfaction. Whether it’s tools, dies or special machinery involving pneumatics, hydraulics and programmable controllers, SMT assists customers in helping them attain their goals. Utilizing a CAD system network, SMT engineers can supply alternate concepts before a decision is made on final design. This system also enables SMT to respond quickly to engineering changes or additions that have an affect on a project’s time frame.
Through the years SMT has progressed from building small dies to larger more complex dies weighing as much as 65,000 pounds. From single hit to progressive and transfer systems, SMT has accumulated the knowledge and experience to satisfy a wide range of requirements. These capabilities, along with a variety of tryout presses and a quality control department, allow SMT to run off and inspect a customer’s parts at its facility. Stauble’s many years of die making has given it the experience necessary to compete in today’s market with innovative and unique designs. While specializing in progressive and transfer tooling, SMT also can build challenging draw dies, trim and pierce dies and various other single hit dies.
Stauble incorporates its tooling and controls expertise into the special machinery field. Stauble uses many of the industry-standard PLCs and touch screens for operator interface. The company’s design and build capabilities allow it to produce machines from small stand alone off-line machines to the more complex, fully automated multi-station transfer lines. Tube benders, forming machines, general machining and welding equipment is just a sample of the special machinery SMT can offer industry.
Along with tooling and special machines, SMT offers general machine services. The company can repair and rebuild the heavy machinery used for many industrial applications. Stauble specializes in the repair, service and rebuild of such heavy machinery as stamping presses and metal working equipment. “We can rebuild, service or repair on-site or we can bring the customer’s equipment to our own plant for examination,” notes Stauble.
Stauble didn’t become involved in metal stamping until 1982. Up until that point, as a favor to customers SMT would use the few metal stamping presses it had to either test its customers’ new tooling or repair their tooling. On other occasions when customers were caught in a bind due to a broken stamping press, SMT would transfer their tooling to its plant in Louisville and run the tooling on its presses. “As more and more of this type of work came our way,” says Stauble, “we began to realize that there were some real opportunities for us in metal stamping. In the early 80s we acquired used metal stamping presses that we repaired ourselves, which we then used to start our own metal stamping division.”
Today, Stauble has a wide range of presses, 60 tons through 500 tons that enable the company to accommodate a wide range of parts. Trained press operators and highly competent quality control technicians assure that SMT’s parts meet both dimensional and functional requirements.
SMT Customers and new projects
The two main markets for SMT’s products and services are the automotive and appliance industries. Approximately 85 percent of SMT’s sales are accounted for by the two sectors. In the appliance sector, customers such as GE, Electrolux, Collis, Maytag and Mabe have come to rely on SMT. Automotive customers include well-known names such as Tower Automotive, Trim Masters and Oxford Automotive. “The automotive sector is newer to us than the appliance industry,” explains Stauble. “We’ve seen growth in automotive customers during the last 10 years ever since Toyota, Saturn and Nissan opened plants in the Louisville region.”
Three recent SMT projects in the appliance sector are worthy of note. The first involves a $500,000 tooling manufacturing job for a major appliance OEM in Mexico. The second involves an important appliance OEM in the United States that’s revamping its entire appliance line. Stauble is manufacturing tooling and undertaking metal stamping for this appliance customer.
The third and largest of the new appliance projects centers around Maytag, the appliance giant. Stauble recently has built prototype tooling for a new product that Maytag is launching. The company also will have a role in the final tooling for the new product. The entire project is estimated to be worth about $4 million. The remaining 15 percent of SMT’s sales are taken up by a combination of other industries including defense, hardware, office products and transportation. Stauble is particularly excited about a new project for a defense contractor in the Louisville area. “We used to do tooling for this customer years ago and now we’ve been approached to do metal stamping for its gun powder containers,” says Stauble.
Looking ahead over the next 12 months, Stauble believes the appliance industry will be the industry that will generate the most business for the company; however, Stauble does not discount the long-term potential that the automotive industry represents. “Lately, the appliance sector seems to be the one that’s introducing the most new products,” notes Stauble. “A large amount of capital is being spent by the appliance industry on new and upgraded products. Companies in the automotive industry, in contrast, have been holding on to their capital in the hopes of brighter economic forecasts. Nevertheless, they’re itching to move forward, so down the road we’re going to see significant growth emanating from the automotive industry.”