Most small machine shops are run by dedicated, hard working people who know that their business depends on giving customers quality parts at reasonable cost, and delivering them on time. They use proven techniques to make parts for essential industries, and rely on their determination and skill – and a healthy dose of CNC technology – to succeed.
IOS Enterprises, located just across the U.S. border in Surry, British Columbia, Canada, has been around since about 1995. In 2012, Henry Hansman bought out the previous owner; Henry now runs the business, and his sons, Kevin and Daryl, run the shop.
“All the machines the previous owner had were outdated, and not too reliable,” recalls Kevin. “We took over, and that was one of the first things we changed. We bought a Haas ST-30Y and a TL-3, and then added a VF-4 about 6 months later. Then we bought a Haas VF-5, an ST-30, and a VF-2 about 6 months ago. You need good machines that you can depend on.
“Most of our customers are in the forestry, mining equipment, and construction industries,” he continues. “We make a lot of swivels for one particular customer – they are about 1-3/8" diameter with a clevis on each end. One end is fixed, and the other will rotate. We do a lot of that size, and we make other sizes, from about 7/8" diameter to about 9" diameter. We also make saw guides, feed rolls, planer heads, and a lot of other things for the lumber industry.
“We are just a bunch of hard-working guys,” says Kevin. “We do what it takes to keep the machines making chips and the customers happy. My brother, Daryl, and I often run three machines at the same time, and we take our programming home, so we have programs ready to go for the next day.”
This combination of drive, skill, and high-quality parts – delivered on time – is the key to success for IOS Enterprises. With such a busy shop, IOS uses every advantage to maximize production.
“For example, we use bar pullers on our lathes,” Kevin explains. “You spend less time loading, and you can push Cycle Start and walk away for an hour. With the mills, I stick as many vices as I can in there. If I can fit another one in there, I’ll put it in. The fewer times you have to walk over to the machine and load it, the more time you have for something else.
“We do a lot of long shafts on the ST-30Y that have threaded holes on the ends,” he adds. “Sometimes it’s a 4-inch shaft that’s 40-inches long, with four one-inch UNC tapped holes in the end. So we thread-mill the holes with the Y-axis. It’s pretty much impossible on a mill, because you would need huge Z-axis travel to drill and tap those holes. We also do chain pins on the ST-30Y. They have two holes and a flat milled on the end. The Y-axis eliminates two mill operations. It saves a lot of time in mill setups, and leaves the mills open for other things.
“We have six machines, all Haas,” Kevin points out. “We got the first one in late 2012 or early 2013. They are very reliable. We’ve had no major problems, just a couple of hiccups. In the morning, we just come in and fire them up, and they run all day, every day. And the service is great. That was the problem with the other machines – if we needed a servomotor, it would take two weeks to get here, and another two weeks for someone to show up to install it! With Haas, if the dealer does not have it on the shelf, they fly it up the next day. You are up and running the next day. Those are the main things for us – reliability and service.
“It may sound cliché, but we don’t shy away from the hard jobs or the hard materials or low quantities,” Kevin concludes. “Often, we get jobs where the customer has been to other shops and were turned away because they just couldn’t do it. But we still take it on . . . and we deliver on time. That is what customers want to hear. If you say, ‘Oh, man, I have to do this and this,’ people don’t want to hear that. They want to hear ‘No problem!’”