Q&A with Curtis Dick

Director of Quality at Riverside Spline and Gear Inc.


Tell us about Riverside Spline and Gear Inc.’s place in the gear manufacturing industry?

We consider ourselves the industry leader in the job shop arena. We are not afraid of large quantities and do them frequently, but we shine well in the one-off job shop arena. We consider ourselves North America’s job shop. That’s kind of our theme. We have an average lot size of five or less, and that’s uncommon for most gear companies. People are moving more toward mass production of gearing. And it’s hard to find someone who has competitive pricing, is high quality, on time, short deliveries in the one-off arena. We are that company. When we say we do quick turnaround, we mean it. We have our own inhouse bar stock, so if you give us an emergency order in the morning, we can have a piece cut off, turned, gear cut, and off to heat treat that evening. That’s uncommon.

What achievements have you recently accomplished?

The first and most important at this point is our commitment to quality. We’ve achieved the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. And this basically assures our customers that we have a commitment to quality, maintaining a quality management system, and a business management system that is driven from the top down supported by Aaron Forest, our president, CEO, and owner. Aaron is involved, daily, in the quoting process, operations, and quality functions. Corrective actions and the understanding of where we can improve are of utmost interest to Aaron.

What equipment have you added to better assist customers’ needs?

We’ve added six machines in the past five months. We are adding two more ID grinders this week and another cut-off saw in a few weeks. This changes pretty much on a monthly basis right now. Our business is booming. We are adding machinery and people in order to meet our commitments to our customers. The largest machine we’ve added is a Höfler 1500L gear grinder. This Höfler has a 59-inch diameter capacity, a 59-inch stroke, and can grind a shaft up to 99 inches long. We have added a Toshiba VTL and ID grinding to create the blanks large enough to accommodate this machine. Our whole company is focused on our gear grinding. All the machinery that we have in the shop is there to support making a gear blank that is worthy of going on those machines.

Tell us about Riverside’s quick turnaround grinding service.

Back in 2006, we broke ground on a new gear grinding center. We used to have old Reishauer grinders. And our customer base was talking about larger gearing and different kinds of gearing that needed more modifications. We realized that we needed to keep it in-house because we couldn’t find somebody out there to do that for us. So, we purchased our first Höfler grinder. It was a Rapid 900. Twelve years later, we have five Höfler grinders ranging from 400mm to 1,500mm.  They’re all equipped with Siemens 850D controllers, and they have onboard checking. These Class 14 (DIN 3) machines run 23 hours a day. We service many industries with between two- and five-day turnaround on gear grinding only. Currently, about 35 percent of our work is gear grind only for other gear companies. So, we have become an extension to their gear grinding capabilities for meeting their customers’ needs. We appreciate their trust in our gear grinding capabilities.

What are some of Riverside’s proudest moments?

Back in 2013, we had our 50th anniversary. We’ve come a long way from splining parts for the automotive machinery business and have stayed true to our core values in being a leader in the job shop arena.

Where do you see Riverside in the next 10 to 20 years and its place in the gear industry?

Our future is to grow. We have continuing plans for machinery, manpower, systems, and brick-and-mortar. And we have the space to make that happen.

We strive to continue to be our customers’ first choice. Our customers tend to come to us first due to our quick quotes, and shorter lead times, quality, and competitive prices.

It’s easier said than done to be a first choice, of course. We realize it takes a lot of continued commitment, not only in machinery, but in the training of our people. We have a lot of cross training. In the industry today, it is very difficult to find qualified personnel. We often find that home growing is one of the best ways to increase and improve our staff. We find people with good attitude and aptitude, and we grow them in the areas where they excel, and then we stretch them into other areas where they can continue their learning process. This enhances their experience and allows them to grow while contributing to the overall knowledge base of the company. Cross training presents us with the opportunity to move manpower to the work instead of having the work back up in one department. We have a great longevity with our staff. This is greatly important for our future.

  • We intend to grow the business in four ways:
  • Gaining market share with our current customers.
  • Adding to our ever-growing customer base.
  • Adding machinery and human resources as needed to meet demands.

Continue to look for adding products and services to the business as we see the opportunities to service our customers better.

In short, we have had a tradition of quality since 1963. We intend to continue this tradition and our tradition of shorter lead times and competitive pricing to meet our customers’ product and service needs. 

MORE INFO  www.splineandgear.com