General Broach Company General Manager Larry Stover freely admits that “broachable” isn’t a word, but it still sums up what the company is all about.
“We are going to provide a quality product that is going to lower the cost per part,” Stover said. “We specialize in pot broaching especially. I know a lot of gear companies now are going to hobbing and shaping and even skiving, but the way we design our pot broaches, the cost per part is driven down considerably because we get so many more parts per sharp and parts over the life of the tools. That’s where we really shine — when we’re doing internal straight-form gears, because we don’t do helicals. We design our tool for the maximum tool life to give the customer the most sharps over the life of the tool. And, really, what that does is it adds value because our whole mindset is to drive their cost per part down.”
Some of the services General Broach Company offers is broach tooling, broaching machines, and production broaching, according to Stover. Those broach tools include internal pole pull broaches, pot broaches, and blind spline broaches.
“We invented that process back in the 1970s,” he said.
In fact, an entire range of broaching tool services to the metalworking industry are available from General Broach, according to Stover. Experienced design engineers operate the newest CAD and internally developed software programs. General Broach engineers ensure customer satisfaction throughout the entire process of creating, producing, and using its broaches. General Broach’s in-house staff of engineers are available for consultation at every turn of a project.
Some of General Broach’s in-house capabilities combine skilled technicians, experienced design engineers, and precision CNC machine tools, he said.
Many services, one town
And the company adds even more to its arsenal of advantages by having all of its divisions together in one town, according to Stover.
“We’re actually under two buildings, but they’re just 200 yards apart,” he said. “We’re able to work closely together, which helps when we’re doing a turnkey project. We have five different design engineers — three for broach tooling and two for machines and fixtures. They utilize 3D NX CAD systems. They’re able to perform FEAs and do force calculations. We’re able to pick the best machine and best tool design to fit the customer’s need. I would say that’s our niche.”
Identifying a customer’s need first involves a risk analysis where a broaching percentage of a potential job is determined, according to Stover.
In other words: How “broachable” is it?
“We’ll do that, and then many times we might meet as a team to discuss it and to see the best way to approach it,” he said. “If we believe that we can do it and be successful, we’re going to quote them a package to do so, and then we’ll stand behind it. We stand behind our designs and our turnkey solutions.”
One advancement that Stover is particularly proud of is a recent patent General Broach Company received on a pot broach and finish shave ring guiding system design.
“It basically allowed us to cut customers’ run-out tolerances in half, and because of that, it’s taken a lot of headaches away from the customer, and it makes pop pot broaching a whole lot easier,” he said.
Stover said he has watched General Broach Company grow through his 40 years with the company, but it actually opened its doors in 1942 in order to serve the growing automotive industry.
“At one time, we were split where part of our division — the machine division — was in Detroit, and the rest of it was down here in Morenci, Michigan,” he said. “It moved to Morenci in 1964 out of Detroit. Since 2005, it’s all been located in Morenci. Because of that, we’ve been able to work closer together on projects. And we’ve seen many innovations through the years on broaching — whatever style of broaching it is. We’ve been awarded several patents through the years. We were one of the first broach companies to achieve ISO certification. Now we’re one of the few in the whole country that’s AS9100 certified for the aerospace industry. There are not a whole lot of broach companies that are AS certified. We do a lot of work for the aviation industry.”
Growing with the future
And as tolerances get tighter and tougher, Stover expects General Broach Company to be up to that challenge.
“You have to be able to provide tools that are going to be able to work in stable and unstable environments in some cases,” he said. “We’ve upgraded our equipment. Our quality program that we run here allows us to grind closer tolerances. We are more aware of where we have to be. If a company orders several tools, we make sure that one tool to the next to the next to the next, is they’re alike. Once a customer has his machine dialed in and his parts are coming out and his heat treat is making it grow to the right size and everything, our broaches are similar. That’s what we strive to do.”