‘Manufacturing Marvels’ profiles Regent Die & Tool

Regent Die & Tool Company Inc.
730 W. Armour Ave., Milwaukee
Industry: Machining
Employees: 51

Milwaukee-based Regent Die & Tool Company Inc. was recently featured on the Fox Business Network’s “Manufacturing Marvels,” where its work was described as turning “a piece of metal into a masterpiece.”

“Manufacturing Marvels” is a two-minute segment that spotlights the products and processes of American manufacturers.

A spring hanger bracket that will be used for the trucking industry is about to undergo a quality inspection.

“It was exciting to be chosen,” said business development manager Rachel Rogowski, who said Regent was in part selected due to its CNC capabilities, family ownership, size and age.

Founded in 1951 as a tool and die shop, Regent is a third-generation company that manufactures machine components for the mining, packaging, heavy equipment, automotive, trucking, and oil and gas industries, among others.  

Although it still builds its own tools, die and jigs to support its in-house operation, Regent has moved away from the tool and die business into a machining company, manufacturing hundreds of thousands of parts a year mainly for original equipment manufacturers throughout the Midwest. The components range in cost from as little as $4 to $5,000-plus and can take from a day to 12 weeks to manufacture depending on the size, quantity and complexity.

The manufacturing process begins with Regent receiving a drawing from the customer that contains the design specifications.

“We work with each other, not just for each other,” Rogowski said of Regent’s relationship with its customers. “We like to understand our customers’ businesses and understand what they want, so we can go back and give them some cost-saving ideas.”

Regent either machines the components from supplied castings or from raw material. According to Rogowski, about 60 percent of their work is from raw material and the other 40 percent from castings.

After receiving the drawing, the components undergo a series of processes that may include turning, milling, drilling, grinding, boring, polishing, heat treating and welding.

The process, Rogowski said, always varies.

Regent operates on three shifts and owns more than 100 machines and support equipment, including 28 pieces of CNC.

While the ISO 9001-certified manufacturer uses state-of-the-art technology such as the Mazak turning center, Rogowski said Regent does not rely on computers.

“We know old tool craftsmanship,” she said. “We knew it before the computers arrived. We’ve been doing it for so long, and it shows in our quality.”

In 2001, Regent’s owners opened A&E Cleaning and Grinding Inc., located in a 72,000-square-foot facility at 1000 W. Pelton Drive in Oak Creek. A&E grinds and paints castings before they are machined at Regent, which has two adjacent buildings with a combined square footage of 36,000.

A&E has 50 employees, and Regent has approximately 51.

Jim Rogowski, co-vice president of Regent, said he plans to hire two highly-skilled machinists early this year. Another two machinists were hired in 2014.

Regent grew 12 percent last year and is expected to grow another 15 percent in 2015, according to Jim Rogowski, who said the growth is driven by new customers, an emphasis on sales efforts and industry diversification.

For example, Regent doubled its customer base and expanded into the industries of food and beverage packaging, defense, and oil and gas in 2014. The company plans to continue diversifying in 2015 by further penetrating the oil and gas market and by targeting other growing industries such as medical and power.

Some of its customers have worked with Regent for 30 years, and the company takes pride in forming customer relationships.

Said Andrew Rogowski, production supervisor at Regent and A&E, “They can grow, and we can grow with them.”

This CNC machine manufactures large machine components.

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