OWNER — REN TOOL & MFG CO., INC.
“There's no other place that you can see so much in such a short period of time, walking from one booth to another. The industry brings its newest equipment to the show, and technical experts are available to discuss solutions to my challenges. I could never get that by just researching online.”
Sometimes big dreams come in small packages. In 1982, Renato Belletti purchased a small machine shop and its 40-year-old equipment in Schenectady, N.Y. Since the beginning, Belletti kept his goals modest. He did not want a big shop – the company averages about 10 employees – but he did want a productive and profitable operation. For the past 36 years, Ren Tool & Manufacturing has machined millions of metal parts, focusing small-to-medium-sized orders with quick turnaround at reasonable prices. Belletti believes that state-of-the-art, flexible machining equipment is the key to making quality parts quickly and for the lowest cost possible.
Relying on IMTS as his main source for new equipment information, Belletti has attended 16 IMTS shows.
“There’s no other place that you can see so much in such a short period of time, walking from one booth to another,” Belletti said. “The industry brings its newest equipment to the show, and technical experts are available to discuss solutions to my challenges. I could never get that by just researching online.”
Ren Tool & Manufacturing makes gears, threaded products and other parts for the power generation industry, as well as replacement parts for machine repair shops servicing construction and manufacturing equipment. Belletti set a goal to continually buy new equipment that can further the business. Today the company has Mazak two-axis lathes and three-axis mills, as well as Bridgeport manual lathes and grinders running one shift every weekday. From the beginning, Belletti intended to keep his operation relatively small, running lean but profitably with minimal overhead.
“The advantage to a small operation is being able to monitor everything closely, catch problems and fix them quickly,” Belletti said. “Extra layers of management are expensive and not useful to us. We always want to have more people working in the shop and fewer people in the office.”
Missing an IMTS
When Belletti started Ren Tool, he skipped a few IMTS shows in the early 1980s and felt the negative consequences.
“When I returned to IMTS in 1986, I was blown away with how much the industry technology had progressed,” Belletti admitted. “It took time for me to catch up and get familiar with new trends and equipment that would help my company be competitive. No one wants to be left behind with old equipment.”
Belletti’s IMTS strategy has been to do a quick run-through of the entire floor on the first day to find the hidden gems that can benefit his company. Then he goes back and takes a second look at areas of most interest – talking with experts, learning about new equipment and getting his hands on the latest machines.
To address the skilled labor shortage, common among most shops, Belletti found that operator-friendly interfaces have made a huge impact on his business. Simple touchscreens with intuitive controls in plain language have allowed Ren Tool & Manufacturing to train less-skilled workers to run equipment and complete customer orders on short deadlines.
“Conversational-style controls make a big difference for us. Without them, we would have been sunk long ago,” Belletti said. “There are few qualified workers available right now, so we need to leverage technology and use the workers we have to keep up with customer demand.”
To help build a workforce for the future, Ren Tooling & Manufacturing is working with the local high school to train students in a machine shop course and hopes to bring them in as apprentices who will become long-time skilled employees someday.
Handing Over to the Next Generation
A few years ago, Belletti stepped down from day-to-day management and passed on the business to his three adult children – Renata, Patrick and Steven. He didn’t expect them to take on the business, but he’s pleasantly surprised to see the next generation step up and take over. Even though Belletti is retired, he plans to attend IMTS 2018 with his son for three days.
“The kids will be making updates to grow the business and have complete control of what comes next, but I still have a say in machinery purchases,” Belletti said. “We wouldn’t have been successful so long without the information we learn at IMTS. There’s always something new to see. Everything we could possibly need is at the show. IMTS is the complete package.”Read More Stories