Getting to the “Core” of Buss Precision Mold’s Success



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Buss Precision Mold Inc. (BPM; Clackamas, OR) is 10-employee mold manufacturer that takes pride in the fact that while the shop may be small in numbers, it possesses the technology and capacity of a large shop with a specialty in collapsible core, unscrewing and overmolding tools and complex action requirement designs.

Serving industries like medical, aerospace, military/ITAR, industrial, electronics, transportation, consumer and irrigation/agriculture, the company’s average leadtime on a project is six weeks, which company president Jonathan Buss says is a result of “extreme” customer service and the company mantra, “We do what we say we will do!”

In 1988, Buss and his father Earl founded the company together after both worked for another moldmaker for a number of years and wanted to break out on their own. Buss recalls that his father taught him everything he knows. “A lot of people tell me they could never work with their father, but working with him was a privilege,” he notes.

The duo started in Earl’s garage shop, taking on overflow work from the company they left on good terms with, and gradually gained more customers based on Earls’ reputation around the area as the “go-to” guy for complicated projects. Soon after, they obtained their first CNC machine and offline computer programming system for use in manufacturing the molds. They continued to obtain more and more CNC equipment keeping up with technology and slowly added CNC EDM and CNC wire EDM over time.

Core Competencies
In 2000, BPM obtained its first high-speed milling machine, a Roeders RFM-600. With its 42,000-rpmspindle and 1,200-ipm feedrate the company could see the immediate benefit before the training was even complete. “After training a couple of days, we ran an EDM electrode that would have taken approximately 30 hours to run (if everything went right!) on the conventional equipment,” Buss notes. “It took fewer than three hours to run and it required almost no hand work to finish. The previous method would have required hours of hand work and wouldn’t have attained the same accuracy either. This was confirmation the large investment for a small shop was worthwhile.”

Since then, Buss notes that high speed and hard milling have evolved into core competencies of BPM. “When EDM is necessary, using the CNC EDM in conjunction with lights-out machining are key components of staying competitive and providing precise tools with compressed leadtimes,” he comments.

The latest additions of machinery are a DMG DMC 105 linear motor high-speed milling machine, a dual-pallet Makino V56, and the latest Mitsubishi EA12 advanced CNC sinker EDM. “The increased accuracies and better surface finishes are some of the greatest benefits realized from the new equipment,” Buss comments.

Core Values
BPM also relies on a set of core values to accompany its core competency focus. According to Buss, the company treats all of its employees with dignity and respect—and they work as a team to accomplish all tasks. “We personally set goals to continually strive to maximize productivity,” Buss emphasizes. “We take responsibility for our decisions and actions in our quest to produce the highest quality work we can be proud of.”

The technology found on the shop floor goes a long way in ensuring employee dedication and cohesiveness, Buss adds. “Our employees use the latest in technology, attend seminars and receive webinar training to stay on top of the latest trends and technology utilization,” Buss asserts. “We also have a weekly companywide meeting to track progress and planning of all in-process jobs, and communication of needed issues. Each job has a preliminary kick-off meeting where everyone involved reviews specific aspects of the job with design and the job leader. At this time input is also taken and implemented into design.”

Core Strategies
BPM is focused on increasing its customer base in the medical product category and creating more brand awareness in order to ensure long-term success by keeping its current equipment running as many hours as possible. “Our brand awareness is well established with OEMs and custom molders who use our tools,” he elaborates. “They often discuss how they like to work with and run BPM tools due to making good parts the first time, being on schedule, and tool maintenance being easy to facilitate due to well thought-out designs. The main focus on creating more brand awareness is getting the tools on to new OEMs and molders’ floors where they speak for themselves.

To that end, BPM is planning to increase capacities. “We are currently looking into a larger capacity horizontal milling machine and some five-axis machines as future equipment purchases,” Buss concludes. “We will continue to exhibit small company nimbleness to quickly adapt to our customers’ needs, while having the technology and capacity of a larger shop.”

For More Information
Buss Precision Mold Inc. / (503) 652-5804
jbuss@bussmold.com / bussprecisionmold.com