OWNER — MCC TOOLING
“The big advantage at IMTS is I can check out everything and compare pricing. I may walk back and forth two or three times to really get the answers I need and see everything. There's no place else I could get so much information at one time.”
Marcus Alexander, owner of MCC Tooling (Garland, Texas), can trace most of his major equipment purchases in the past three decades back to his attendance at IMTS. Since IMTS 1984, Alexander has attended every show, often returning to the shop with a new machine to grow his business.
MCC Tooling makes custom cutting tools for parts manufacturers in the automotive, medical and weaponry industries. The company specializes in tool grinding and sharpening, as well as wire EDM. Using advanced CNC machine tools allows MCC Tooling to double customers' tool life versus manually sharpened tools. Fast turnaround is what brings customers back.
“Our customers need to have special tools made, like special tapered tools and dovetail cutters that can't be ordered from the factory because it could take six to 12 weeks. They want it tomorrow, so they bring it to us and we get it done in a day or two. Seventy-five percent of our jobs are very hot and need to get out the door quickly,” Alexander says.
Keeping up with high demand and fast turnaround requires a shop full of state-of-the-art equipment and skilled workers. MCC Tooling has 10 employees and 7,600 sq. ft. of shop space to house three Walter CNC grinders (United Grinding booth 236802), a Mitsubishi wire EDM (booth 338158), a profile grinder and 10 manual grinders.
IMTS from the Start
After high school, Alexander worked in a machine shop de-burring parts. He found out quickly that he was good at it and enjoyed the job. He started his own company in 1984 with a dream to make it work. As a new business owner, Alexander knew it was essential to attend IMTS that year.
“Everybody kept talking about how great IMTS was, so when I started my own business, I knew I had to go to see what it was, what it had to offer and see the different machines,” Alexander says. “I knew that to move ahead and grow the company I was going to have to see more and do more.”
While at IMTS 1984, Alexander discovered that the show was the perfect place to research and purchase new equipment. That first year, he came to the show researching manual tool cutting grinders and bought one there. Then it became a tradition for him to acquire new machines at IMTS.
“The big advantage at IMTS is I can check out everything and compare pricing,” Alexander says. “I may walk back and forth two or three times to really get the answers I need and see everything. There's no place else I could get so much information at one time.”
Alexander purchased three Walter CNC grinders at IMTS in 1986, 1996 and 2010, respectively. After talking with several manufacturers at IMTS 2008, he bought a Mitsubishi B-axis wire EDM. Over the years he's also purchased several grinders and other equipment at the show, often getting free software or other special offers.
“I don't have time to visit every manufacturer's office,” Alexander says. “IMTS gives me a chance to see everything and get good deals. I can go to a booth and start talking to someone about their equipment and then go to the next booth and talk with them. I get information there's no other way you can get.”
While attending IMTS for three days, the MCC Tooling team makes a plan to start out at the EDM Pavilion, then go to the Tooling & Workholding Pavilion and the Abrasive Machining Pavilion (learn about Pavilions).
“Having the products grouped together makes it much easier to find what I'm looking for,” Alexander says. “I want to check out everything because the technology changes quickly and new opportunities pop up, so when an opportunity does come up, I will be ready for it.”
The People Connection
The information Alexander collects at IMTS gives him the confidence to make purchasing decisions. He spends a lot of his time talking with technicians to really understand equipment options and new possibilities for his business.
“I can do research on the internet, but it's much more helpful when I come to a booth and talk with actual technicians running the machines,” Alexander says. “They can show the little tricks, what the software does and ideas on how we can do things better. It's specific to my job, not just a generic grinding application. The information is just what I need to make a smart purchase choice.”
Although IMTS has the largest display of manufacturing equipment in North America, its appeal is about much more than just machines for Alexander.
“IMTS is as much about relationships as it is about hardware,” Alexander says. “I enjoy talking with the technicians and software engineers at the show. It's nice to develop a friendship over the years and keep in touch because if we ever have a problem, they're the people we go to.”
Learning at IMTS doesn't end when the show closes for the day. Evenings are a chance for the MCC Tooling team to get together and share thoughts.
“At the end of a day at IMTS, we sit down and think about what could help the job. Then we can come back to the show floor the next day and look at it a little more closely,” Alexander says.
“Chicago is so much fun in the evening,” he adds. “It's such a friendly city. Everybody's out walking around, sitting at patios, eating or having a drink. We have our favorite restaurants we visit every time. I definitely recommend getting dinner reservations in advance to anyone coming to IMTS.”Read More Stories