Rose Industries Inc. High quality delivered on time

Dec. 11, 2008
Rose Industries makes the hard cuts in tough materials.
Bob Lamb, vice president, and Deborah Lamb, president of Rose Industires Inc. (foreground), with their team that produces aerospace, medical and other high precision parts.

Deborah Lamb is fond of pointing out that, as a woman-owned business, her company, Rose Industries Inc., is looked at — by the federal government, anyway — as a disadvantaged business.

She acknowledges that, as a woman-owned business, doors are opened to the Massachusetts machine shop. But as for being disadvantaged, if you’re not careful she’s going to eat your lunch.

Deb Lamb is the president of Rose Industries Inc. She runs a highprecision machine shop that produces parts for the aerospace, medical, military and commercial markets.

With the help of her husband, Bob Lamb, vice president of the company, the shop has found a niche in turning out parts with difficult shapes from materials that are difficult to machine, including composites, plastics, tool steels, steel alloys with high nickel content and titanium among others. Bob runs the technical side of the shop, while Deb runs the business and keeps track of the numbers.

In addition to machining shapes and materials that are difficult, the shop has made a position for itself in fast deliveries of parts with high quality standards.

“For us, a four-week lead time is an eternity. Most of our turnaround is within a matter of days,” Bob Lamb said.

Rose Industries accomplishes fast turnarounds of parts by trying to have jobs up and running within an hour. “We put multiple setups on our machines and, while we are waiting for the first piece inspection for one part, we’re setting up for another,” Lamb said. That requires keeping families of parts ordered on the shop’s machines and keeping careful track of the software used to machine each part.

“We have set up a template for every part and, if you add a hole to the part, you go into the template and note it,” he added. Keeping careful track of parts and their machining paths cuts time and effort from producing the parts later.

In addition, many of the part codes can be transferred from one machine to another so that work can be scheduled on open machines.

“Most options (to produce a part, such as rigid tapping, helical interpolation, three-axis milling and others) can be transferred so that any machine can be scheduled to run the part with the right options,” Bob Lamb said.

Rose Industries runs four Hurco machining centers, a Hurco turning center, a Harrison engine lathe, two knee mills that have CNC access, a Bridgeport, and two surface grindgrinders. Its seven people turn out parts with dimensions of 12 in. by 16 in. by 30 in. in lot sizes of 1 piece to 3,000 pieces, but most of its work is for lot sizes of 10 pieces to 50 pieces, Deb Lamb said.

The shop primarily uses TiAlNcoated tools that deliver faster cutting speeds and long tool lives.

“We run our spindles at 8,000 rpm, but if you can run the job faster, you can shorten your machining times. Coated tools let you do that, and our coated tools last as much as 10 times longer than uncoated tools,” Bob Lamb said.

Rose Industries is a small shop, with 5,000-square-feet under roof, but it is tightly run and everyone in the business contributes to its success.

Its focus on quality puts responsibilities on each of its machinists to produce good parts the first time.

“Quality is required by our customers, and we don’t take chances. We don’t gamble,” Bob Lamb said. The shop has a scrap rate that is less than 1/10th of 1 percent of sales, he noted.

Rose Industries runs its shop on one shift, and it typically has one machinist running two machines. However, it also subcontracts work to other shops when it needs the extra support. “You can’t be all things to all customers,” Bob Lamb said.