The story of Rave Gears and Machining in Seguin, Texas, is short and fascinating. Established in 2011, Rave Gears has built a brand-new world-class engineering and manufacturing facility from the ground up. Rave Gears has accomplished this goal by investing in state-of-the-art equipment and hiring experienced, talented, and dedicated people. Today, the company produces high-quality spiral bevel, hypoid, spur, and helical gears. It also provides precision CNC machining, prototyping, reverse engineering, and other ancillary services. Rave Gears is ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified.
The motto of Rave Gears is “Talent and Technology Driven.”
The seeds of the company were planted a long time ago. Even as a young boy growing up in India, Narendra (Nick) Patel, its founder, had an insatiable desire to learn how things work, especially mechanical objects. He started repairing watches during his early childhood. After obtaining a degree in civil engineering from India, he came to the U.S. in 1989. He joined Arrow Gear in 1990 and worked there for four years.
Patel’s entrepreneurial instincts then took over, and he left Arrow Gear to pursue other businesses, such as a small retail store, then hotel ownership and then hotel construction. Fast-forward to 2006 when he was ready to pursue his original dream based on his engineering knowledge.
After his success in the hotel business, Patel contacted Bruce Roberge, who had worked with him at Arrow Gear. They decided to import gears from overseas for the American market.
“We did everything we could to offer American customers a comparable product at a lower price,” Roberge said.
But they soon realized that this kind of endeavor was on the way out in regard to manufacturing high-volume easy gears. The talent overseas was available, but the wage differential was not that great; wages in the Far East and China were on the rise.
Patel and Roberge bought parts from overseas but found it economically impossible to sustain.
“There were so many costs involved,” Roberge said. “The logistics alone — shipping costs, containers, and overseas communication — made it difficult to sustain that idea. We even considered building a metrology lab to inspect gears as they came to America to keep them up to American quality. The gear companies overseas weren’t willing to cut back on their prices, and shipping the parts back to them in the event of needed repair was not feasible.”
The two men again found themselves at a crossroads.
In 2010, Patel and Roberge decided to locate a gear company in Texas. Patel’s success in Texas had afforded him contacts and believers.
“The EDC in Seguin was interested in having a high-tech company move into the area,” Roberge said. “They wanted to change the hiring base from agricultural and energy to high-tech gears and manufacturing. So we gave them a presentation and they offered us some land — 10 acres in a really good spot. We felt that the outsourcing days for the U.S. had peaked, and manufacturing was coming back to the U.S.”
They conceived a plan to build the first gear company in decades to begin completely from scratch.
Thus, a new company called Rave Gears and Machining was born. Patel convinced a few of his close friends to join him as investors in the new company. He also convinced Security Service Federal Credit Union to give Rave a loan for the building. The building was ready in 2012.
“Being brand-new gives us a tremendous advantage,” Roberge said. “The new equipment and talent allows us to increase efficiency and quality. The kinds of machines that Rave Gears buys hold very tight tolerances, and they’re capable of performing processes that, five years ago, were only in the development stage. “We are not captive to antiquated machines and processes; we are believers in vacuum carburizing and gas hardening, which provide excellent repetition of quality with minimal distortion.”
Rave hired Nathan Massey to help build the CNC machining part of the company. Nathan also played a major role in creating the infrastructure to run the company. Rave achieved ISO certification before its doors opened for business in October 2012. They immediately started its AS9100 and achieved accreditation in April 2014.
“Rave Gears knows that customers want trust,” Roberge said. “They want a purchase order that doesn’t have to be revisited with quantity and delivery changes. It should be an absolute agreement, like a contract, not the starting point for new negotiations. We want the customer to feel that their needs are being seriously fulfilled. Everything we’re making right now is new. New engineering, new designs, and new sketches on new machines with new people. Sometimes things go wrong, but we can’t afford to do things wrong more than once. We’re in the business of finding the root cause of wrong and getting it fixed.”
While Roberge and Massey have left Rave Gears to pursue other interests, Rave has hired many other talented industry veterans and fresh graduates. The company has more than 35 employees today.
Rave Gears has a strong balance sheet. Apart from the original building loan, it has no other debt. All the partners are committed to the original vision and will support the company so that it can grow to its maximum potential. Patel wants to build Rave and Seguin into a manufacturing center over the next few decades. And in the process, create quality job opportunities in his new home, the U.S.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about Rave Gears including equipment, technology, and capabilities, go to www.ravegears.com.