Q&A with Vince Marlowe

Director of Sales and Marketing | Mijno-USA

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What is Mijno-USA’s mission?

Our mission is to provide custom gear drive solutions, driven by our passion and expertise, to serve the customer above and beyond their expectations while promoting leadership, integrity, and continued improvement throughout the manufacturing and customer service processes.

How did Mijno-USA begin?

In 2007, Allied Precision Machining teamed up with Mijno and entered into a gigantic manufacturing co-op of primarily the critical down-hole oil tool drive systems for conveying tools down to the locations required in the deviated wellbores. So, as the oil and gas industry grew, rather than rely on the experience of our co-operatives, we pretty much continued to assist them despite their concerns about becoming larger and larger shares in our company. We did manufacture precision drive components and assemblies for what we call wellbore tractoring systems. And these were both electrical and hydraulic, so they had an arm that would deploy with a gear-drive reduction system through the arm. It was a little bit different from Mijno’s typical expertise in planetary reduction and rack-and-pinion type stuff. And the exotic materials required down there in the caustic environments were requiring the engineering and the expertise of the two companies.

But due to the downturn in 2014 in the oil and gas industry, I was forced to close Allied Precision Machining. That was the company here in California. The resulting concern was loss of knowledge and capability in this particular field of expertise, primarily by our largest customer, one of the world’s largest oil well service companies. Consequently, Gregory Mijno, president of Mijno-France, which is where the factory is, solicited me with the intent of Mijno maintaining and serving that level of expertise while gaining representation in the North American marketplace, which would be the Canadian and U.S. territories. And thus, Mijno-USA was born. We’re still somewhat in our infancy, because we officially started Mijno-USA in December 2016.

What products and services does Mijno offer?

Primarily gear-drive solutions, whether they’re custom designed or standard. We offer high precision, full service machining and assembling of gearboxes and gearbox-related products. But a lot of the stuff we’re getting into is part of the expertise brought aboard from the previous company, and these are typically your hydraulic blocks. They’re the manifolds you’d mount the solenoids in, and they control the hydraulic circuits. Primarily for down-hole oil tools that we have grown with the expertise with the company. We also have a standard line of gearboxes — planetary reduction, right-angle reduction, rack-and-pinion. We’ll do servo and gear drive integration, whatever you need, whether it’s for military, nuclear, or aerospace.  Our largest sector is aerospace and defense in the European theater.

We also support machines through automation. A lot of your CNC turning machines have live tools for milling and your multi-axis machines that are pretty much doing it all now. You’ve got what we used to call lathes and mills, and now, the industry is building machines that are doing so much more. And that requires a lot more gear-drive solutions. We still support the oil and gas sector, despite the downturn. And some of it is coming back, and we’re happy to see it.

What are some of Mijno’s proudest achievements?

We redesigned and improved the efficiency of some hybrid transportation vehicles. They’re basically large buses, and they were having problems with the efficiency and the design, and we stepped in and pretty much saved the day. Nowadays, we’re turning toward electric or hybrid transportation, which makes total sense, especially for large metropolitan areas.

We designed and manufactured the azimuth elevation controls for the shipboard anti-missile defense systems for the French Navy. Last year, we deployed the satellite solar panel rotational system. They basically open up like an umbrella, and we built the drive system and the servo drive integration that does that in the satellites for the European space defense agency.

And I came up with the catchphrase for Mijno: “Whether it’s way high above, far down below or right here in between, we have your gear drive solution.”

What sets Mijno-USA apart when it comes to what you can offer a customer?

Primarily, we’ve got 90-plus years of passion-driven expertise in proprietary design and manufacturing processes and technologies that allow Mijno to provide innovative custom solutions to its customers backed by complete in-house capabilities, whether it’s direct cutting, grinding, or more.

Our progressive thinking ensures the continued improvement for current and future customers for years to come. So we really kind of have a reputation. The company started out by making gears for bicycles and has grown to what you see today.

Where do you see Mijno-USA in the next 10 years?

The current hope is — market conditions supporting it — a U.S.-based manufacturing facility with interchangeable staffs, so we can do cross training with French and American expertise, kind of like an international exchange program similar to what some of the colleges are doing. I want to support the current growth initiative with the resourcing acts in America.

I’m really hoping we can capitalize on that and continue to grow the company with a worldwide presence. The diversification would be the big issue. The hope would be to continue supporting the energy field, especially with the dominance of the oil and gas field in America now, as well as support the new generation of technologies.

For more information: www.mijno-usa.com