Q&A with Frank Zerbicki


Avers Machine & Gear recently acquired Fox Tool & Manufacturing. What made this a good fit for both companies?

When the previous owner started looking to sell Fox Tool, he was looking for a good fit. He was looking for somebody that would acquire the company, keep it going, keep it on the path that it was on, retain all the employees and customers.

What became a good fit with Avers is their way of thinking and the way they process and the way they run their business. The cultures aligned well with our existing philosophy, and we found many similarities between companies. Both companies had a really strong growth path for the next five to seven years. This brought us together and, with great synergies, will help propel us forward. We complement each other, but we have a different expertise and capabilities.

We both use SolidWorks and Mastercam. We both have a high focus on quality and customer satisfaction. Avers in Schiller Park is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company while we’re AS9100D, including ISO 9001:2015 certified.

Both companies do precision machining, but we both have added capacity and capabilities that bring us together to drive customer satisfaction and service our customers. We do high precision, super tight tolerance machining, and Avers also does high precision machining but also has gear and rack machining capability.

What is AS9100 and the ITAR certification? Why is it important?

The AS9100 is similar to the ISO 9001:2015 certification. It’s a quality management system with the addition of aerospace requirements. These aerospace standards help to ensure and verify a high level of quality is included in the manufacturing and assembly processes. It’s important because it intensifies and helps ensure quality airplanes and military and defense systems.

The ITAR certification is a regulation from the U.S. State Department. It stands for International Traffic and Arms Regulations. It’s put in place to protect national security and regulate manufacturing and export of military and defense technology. Our ITAR registration gives us the opportunity to quote and manufacture military parts.

Why are parts machined to a tolerance in high demand? What makes them something companies want now?

As time goes on, the machines, equipment, and processes allow those tighter tolerances to keep getting tighter and tighter. That includes inspection technology because, if you have a machine that can machine super tight tolerance, but you have no way of inspecting it and verifying that, it doesn’t help.

That’s one of the things that we do here at Fox Tool and that Avers does in Schiller Park is we inspect and certify everything we manufacture. Tight tolerances help ensure the final product moves straighter, spins faster, and has a longer lifespan.

What types of machining do you offer that makes those tight tolerances possible?

Our experience from our team and our equipment allows us to hold these tolerances. Our tolerances on a daily basis in the turning department, 0.0003 bore tolerance and a wall thickness of 0.015. In our milling department, we’re machining bores with 0.0003 tolerance on size and a position tolerance of 0.0005 regardless of feature size, and that’s really tight.

What are small complex aluminum housings, and what are they used for?

They’re typically some kind of gearbox housing used for power transmission types of applications. We machine gearbox parts and assemblies for the aerospace and industrial industries. They can also be a gear-reducing gearbox, which increases torque so they can actuate or move apart with less effort. These gearboxes typically require us to match-machine multiple components.

How does using multi-axis twin turret live tooling machining save on production time?

Those kinds of machines allow us to machine more features in one operation. The time is saved from not having to unload and load the part in multiple operations or multiple machines. In a lot of these cases, especially this 10-axis multi-turret, Miyano turning center we have, we do a lot of one-and-done operations. The first job we ran in there, we had multiple machining operations, but we combined seven operations into one, and we decreased the cycle time and increased the quality.

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about that we didn’t discuss?

The company keeps investing in technology. It’s really exciting to bring in new pieces of equipment and software. We have found it helps attract the younger workforce coming into manufacturing. They can see the steps that the industry is taking to be better, and the younger workforce is really into new technology.

MORE INFO  www.aversmachine.com or www.foxtoolmfg.com