Steady Growth Fuels QTS Success
“Slow and Steady Wins the Race,” is the moral to Aesop’s famous fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. It’s also been a winning strategy for Quality Tool and Stamping (QTS) of Muskegon Heights, Michigan.
Founded in 1957 by Frank Kuznar as a tool and die shop in a double garage, QTS has grown to nearly 200,000 square feet, offering an impressive array of manufacturing capabilities.
Remaining independent and family-owned, Ed and Dan Kuznar proudly carry on in their father’s footsteps, overseeing the day-to-day operations. In addition, many third generation family members are also in key leadership roles at QTS.
Steady growth at QTS has been achieved by concentrating on its core capabilities and customer base, while neglecting the temptation to chase a “fast buck.”
“We are a heavy-material, short-run job shop,” QTS President Ed Kuznar said. “Trucking, medical and rail are our three major customers.”
Absent from the client list are automotive companies or suppliers, which according to Vice President Dan Kuznar is by design.
“Actually, the fact that we refuse automotive work is a good selling point to our other customers,” Dan Kuznar added. “We are able to focus on established customers and smaller runs, while avoiding the crazy demands of potential large-run automotive jobs.”
QTS migrated into the stamping business in 1965 with the purchase of a Minster G1 gap press.
“We were doing tooling work for the Brunswick Company and its [bowling] pin-setter machines,” Ed Kuznar said. “Dad wanted to get a press for die tryouts and prototypes. The Brunswick people asked him to provide the stampings and things took off from there.”
Today there are 24 mechanical stamping presses in operation at QTS -- all Minsters. And the presses purchased in the 1960’s remain valuable manufacturing assets at QTS.
“Our first press was a Minster because we were thought they were the best presses on the market,” Dan Kuznar said. “We bought one and realized they were.”
“We like the fact that Minster presses can be used to their full capability without any problems,” Ed Kuznar said. “They are easy to maintain and very durable. Stamping material that is one-quarter to one-half inch thick is our bread and butter. And our Minster presses are built to take the pounding and the challenges of heavy, high strength material.”
Recently QTS expanded it stamping capabilities with the purchase of its biggest press to date -- a Minster E2-1000 press with a 144-inch bed.
“We were laser cutting a higher volume part for a hospital bed and we thought we could build tooling and move it into a press,” Ed Kuznar said. “We knew we would need more tonnage to blank the part out of high tensile material, and I don’t think there is another press available on the market that could handle the job the way the Minster has.”
“The new press has also opened up other opportunities for us,” he added. “We’ve got some new jobs getting ready to go into production, and we are quoting other larger parts.”
The E2-1000 line includes a Servo Presse compact feed line, which is offered by Dynamic Feeds, a new partner in Minster’s Automation Division.
“I’m very impressed with the Servo Presse line,” Dan Kuznar said. “It was built to handle tough jobs, and we squeezed it into a very small space. It works very well with the press in handling high strength heavy materials.”
QTS designs, builds and maintains tooling for its own customers only. And as part of its steady growth philosophy, the company has continually expanded its manufacturing capabilities, not only in the stamping department, but with the purchase of state-of-the-art laser cutting machines, plasma cutters, static and robotic welders; machining centers, press brakes, EDM machines and more.
From prototype designs to finished products, QTS provides its customer with complete manufacturing solutions in an ever-expanding category of products.
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