Sometimes good things emerge from bad circumstances. After selling more than $100 million worth of a company’s machines for the mold and die industry, spending years learning about the equipment and building productive relationships, James R. Howes learned in 1994 the manufacturer he represented was in financial trouble and that he would soon need to find a new line to sell. Instead of panicking, he began to network and learned that some of the company’s employees had gone to work for another machine tool manufacturer, and he decided to look into it.
“The company is called DEPO GmbH & Co. KG,” he says, “and when I visited their facility I was simply blown away by their dedication to innovation and the quality of their machines. I was so impressed that I bought five machines for a million dollars on the spot.”
So began a relationship in which Howes’ company, North American Machine & Engineering Co.—or NAME, of which he is president—became the North American distributor for DEPO. The company itself has an interesting history, according to Howes. “Heinz Deitert, DEPO’s founder, was dedicated to developing efficient milling technologies,” he says. “He had developed very sophisticated cutters for the machining mold and die industry that were far superior to everything else that was available at the time. He then began searching for a machine that was capable of matching the capabilities of the machine tools he’d developed, but they were all too slow. He also found that the software then being marketed was a bit lacking, in terms of its technological advancements and capabilities. That’s when he decided that he wanted his company to be in a position to provide the whole package; the machine tools, the machine itself, and the software required to run it. And that’s exactly what he did.”
Since taking on the line in 1995, Howes has sold more than 170 of DEPO’s small and large machining centers, finding his customers very receptive to the idea of having a single source backing all the different components that came with their purchase, from the cutting tools to the equipment driving them. What impresses them the most, however—in addition to the equipment’s extraordinary capabilities and blinding speeds—is the fact that Depo/NAME guarantees everything they sell.
“It can be complicated for the end user who experiences problems with one part of their system—the software, say, or the cutting tools—to have to contact different manufacturers to resolve the issues they’ve encountered,” Howes says. “We’re in a position to handle that ourselves, should the situation arise, which inspires a great deal of confidence in our customers.”
The DEPO equipment inspires confidence, as well. With spindles capable of producing 16000 rpm and higher. Imagine in-process deburring and part checking, reaching quality levels of AGMA 12 and higher. They can also run on automatic mode, allowing work to continue all night after the last shift has gone home for the day. Speeds have increased over the years, as well.
As for cutting gears, the DEPO machines produce internal gears up to 3300mm dia and external teeth up to 16.000mm dia; straight, helical, and spiral bevel gears up to 4000mm dia; pinions, worm and worm wheels; and double-helical gears. The multi-axis machining centers vertical and horizontal also handle roughing and finishing, as well as soft and hard cutting. In addition to DEPO, NAME also offers Monforts lathes and CNC turn-mill centers, especially for the gear industry. NAME prides itself in servicing what it sells.
Whoever the manufacturer, Howes says he’s found a great deal of inspiration in one source in particular. “Heinz Deitert founder of Depo GmbH & Co. Kg was really a driving force in the advent of high-speed machining,” he says, “and I like to think that we’re carrying his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to quality forward. We enjoy what we do, we believe in the companies we represent, and we’re eager to prove how we can help manufacturers increase their productivity in ways they might not know is even possible.”