When Willy Goellner immigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 1950s he brought with him business contacts that would lead to the founding of his own company, Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME). “The company began by providing contract machining services,” according to the founder’s son, Alvin Goellner, who is product manager of the company’s fixturing group, “and then grew as it took on new lines as a result of dad’s European contacts.”
Those lines have come to include Hennig machine protection devices and Spieth precision locknuts, clamping sleeves, guide bushings, hydraulic sleeves, and expansion gibs, in addition to Tschudin & Heid linear rollers. AME also began designing its own equipment, such as AMSAW carbide saws, and components including AMBUSH squeeze bushings and AMDISK clamp disks. Throughout this evolution the company has remained 100-percent family owned, Alvin says. “My father acquired Hennig just after he founded AME, and he was the president of both companies as well. My brother, Dietmar, now holds those positions, and my other brother, Harold, is vice president of both companies.”
While Hennig’s core manufacturing competency is sheet-metal fabrication, with its primary market being machine tool machine protection products, gear producers also utilize this line to safeguard their expensive equipment. AME’s products are of particular benefit to gear manufacturers, however, such as its carbide saws—useful in quickly and efficiently cutting bar stock—and especially its fixturing/workholding devices. The purchase of a fixturing company some 15 years ago propelled AME to expand its work in designing and manufacturing stock and custom workholding equipment. This includes dedicated hydraulic or pneumatic fixtures, AMFORCE power-off mechanical clamp-force cylinders, AMROK tombstones, AMFLEX/S.A.F.E. self-aligning fixture elements, and the S.A.F.E.-LOCK line of fixture plates. It also represents the Triag line of modular workholding systems. Not only does this type of product/service diversification help AME remain productive should one market sector sag, it also helps the company’s representatives address a wide variety of challenges when visiting with its customers.
“If we’re touring a client’s facility to discuss Hennig products, the conversation often leads to other challenges we can help them overcome,” according to Doug Robinson, marketing director for both AME and Hennig, “and that’s especially true with workholding. That also points to the strong relationships we’ve developed with our customers, where they’ve come to rely on us not only to make suggestion, but to provide solutions.”
What is often encountered, he explains, is that new equipment is purchased with workholding as an afterthought, even though the capital expenditure was meant to increase both capabilities and efficiency. “And that’s the beauty of what Alvin’s group does,” Robinson says. “We help our customers shift workholding from an afterthought to a high-performance fixturing program that can really take them to the next level.”
A longtime fixturing expert, Goellner oversees the company’s workholding-related activities and is often the point person when discussions turn toward that area. “We might begin by talking about a tombstone they need, and I’ll start asking questions about how it will be used and before you know it we’re talking about some dedicated machining on that tombstone, and then the clamps and components they’ll need to hold their parts, and then vices,” he explains. “So we’ll start off talking about a single device and end up discussing a complete turnkey package.”
AME has experienced engineers on hand, and it backs up its work by providing CMM reports on parts made using the equipment they design. It has also established a strategically located network of representatives to make sure that its customers’ needs are met immediately. “I’ve found that a quick response is one of the most important things a person can provide, no matter what business they’re in,” Goellner says. “We’ve placed our representatives very carefully so that they can get to our customers throughout the United States and Canada quickly when they are needed.”
With Advanced Machine & Engineering’s wide variety of products, equipment, and services—in addition to its reputation for quality, accuracy, and excellent customer service—it expects to continue expanding its capabilities based on its customer’s needs. In summing up the company’s core philosophy, Robinson says that “we can provide a value-engineered solution of the highest quality and precision in order to maximize our customer’s production output. We’re here to share our creativity and expertise so that our clients can realize their professional goals, which allows AME to do the same.”