Mark Laesch, Senior Operations Process Manager
Today, manufacturers require high-precision machined parts with tight tolerances, produced quickly to achieve operational excellence. This growing need for greater machining resilience is complicated by increased supply chain constraints, labor shortages, and other operational bottlenecks. The new, commercially-driven space race is causing unprecedented demand for large, complex, and precisely-machined components, opening up a world of opportunities in a fast-moving, product led paradigm.
Baker Industries, a Lincoln Electric Company, is a leader in the high-precision and tight-tolerance machining space.
Founded in 1992, Baker Industries is a team of designers, engineers, machinists, fabricators, and more, passionate about providing exceptional machining services to modern OEM and Tier 1 manufacturers in aerospace, automotive, defense, space, and beyond. With over three decades of experience, what started as a three-person machine shop is now an industry-leading supplier of components requiring performance-critical precision and tight turnaround times.
Efficiency and Excellence
“We’ve gained a strong reputation for quality, precision, and efficiency, owing to our extensive collection of state-of-the-art equipment, unrivaled technology, and cutting-edge practices,” says Mark Laesch, Senior Operations Process Manager at Baker Industries. The company’s five temperature-controlled facilities in Metro Detroit house a robust collection of advanced, volumetrically-calibrated equipment that can hold tight tolerances and produce high-quality tools, fly parts, and more, almost regardless of their size, shape, or material. The company’s competitive edge comes from its ability to meet clients’ strict deadlines and tackle some of the industry’s largest and most demanding projects.
Their largest machine, and one of the largest in the world—the Emco MECOF Powermill—has handled parts up to 100 feet long. Harnessing the size of the Powermill and several of its other behemoth machines, Baker can seamlessly meet and exceed clients’ machining needs and expectations.
In addition to its extensive machining facilities, Baker has a 45,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility that efficiently carries out customers’ large fabrication projects, including weldments for bond tools, large shipping containers, transportation carts, and assembly equipment. Products leaving this facility support the production of OEM products like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, 737, F-15, and F-18, and Lockheed Martin’s F-35. The company’s experience and capabilities help dramatically reduce the cost and time to market while providing high-quality products.
Staying True to Commitments
Baker Industries is remarkably adept at customer engagement and follows an intricate onboarding process. The company assigns each customer a dedicated program manager who relies on a unique “extreme ownership” approach to maintain oversight of the customer’s project and serve as a single point of contact from the cradle to the grave.
This close collaboration allows Baker Industries to identify customers’ additional requirements and tailor its services accordingly.
In one instance, Baker Industries collaborated with a customer with tight turnaround requirements for a machined tool. The client came in with a pre-designed prototype for their 10- to 12-foot-long tool. After its initial assessment, Baker’s team determined that machining such a large tool would take at least eight weeks. To meet the client’s strict deadline, the company instead harnessed its additive manufacturing capabilities to complete the project. After assessing the prototype, their team proposed to print it in two halves and then weld it together after machining. Naturally interested in additive manufacturing, the client agreed to the proposal. The company’s various departments worked in tandem to deliver the project within four weeks, allowing the client to use the tool in production well within its deadline.
Baker Industries also serves as a trusted partner of the U.S. Department of Defense, recently supporting several DoD priority projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. These allowed the company to keep its doors open while helping local small businesses continue operating by outsourcing some of its DoD work.
Human-centricity is the Key
Baker Industries attributes its success to its extremely adaptive and resilient team, which is always excited for the next challenge, rarely shying away from projects, and constantly pushing boundaries to meet clients’ requirements. Having such a competent team within its walls has enabled Baker Industries to stay at the forefront of the industry and achieve several industry awards, including Modern Machine Shop’s “Top Shop” for Machining Technology in 2018. In addition, the company has bagged several forms of customer recognition, including Lockheed Martin’s Outstanding Small Business Award (pre-acquisition), six consecutive Boeing Performance Excellence Awards, GE Aviation’s Top Rated Supplier status, and SpaceX’s Preferred Supplier status.
The team at Baker Industries takes part in innovation endeavors and service enhancement initiatives, allowing it to align with current trends in the industry. The company gathers its ideas to make its service portfolio relevant and more competitive to meet customers’ evolving requirements.
We’ve gained a strong reputation for quality, precision, and efficiency, owing to our extensive collection of state of-the-art equipment, unrivaled technology, and practices
Baker Industries depends on quarterly customer surveys for feedback on the quality and performance of its products and services. This data also helps the company understand and fill gaps in its service portfolio. For instance, the company recently installed a large paint booth to offer internal painting at a client’s request.
Future-Proofing the Machining Prowess
“We’re always striving for continuous improvement to stay on top of the fast paced technological advancements,” says Laesch. Baker Industries embraces the latest technologies, building new facilities and adding new equipment, including multi-axis CNC machines and inspection and calibration equipment. Additionally, the company has invested in proprietary ERP systems and data management tools—RAPTOR and Eagle Vision—that provide reporting and planning as well as enhanced data analytics for operational excellence.
Continuing its in-house innovations, Baker Industries is transforming its five axis horizontal boring mill, the Emco MECOF Ecomill, into a large vertical turning lathe (VTL) for turning 100-inch diameter parts up to 10 feet tall. It is expanding its machining capabilities to support the next-generation space race, planning to purchase two large, advanced milling and turning machines, and partnering with industry leaders like Blue Origin, SpaceX, NASA, and Boeing. Additionally, Baker is currently renovating its fifth facility, a 30,000 square-foot building, to work on advanced robotics and automated systems.