Production Machining Readers Among “Top Shops”

Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops program honors shops that fall in the top 20% of its annual benchmarking survey. These Production Machining readers have received this recognition.


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Top Shops conference

The Top Shops Conference is a live extension of Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops benchmarking program, providing opportunities for shops to learn machining and business tactics to make their companies successful.


While attending the 2019 Modern Machine Shop Top Shops Conference in September, one thing that struck me was the overlap between Top Shops and the precision machining industry. Shops of all types and sizes can learn valuable lessons about business strategies and machining technology from the program. This was apparent in the lineup of speakers and exhibitors at the conference—many have appeared in Production Machining before. It also extends to the winners. Here’s a list of PM readers who have been recognized by Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops Honors Program.

Hirsh Precision Products, 2018, Shopfloor Practices

Hirsh Precision Products, a contract shop in Boulder, Colorado, received the award in 2018 in the shopfloor practices category. What made the company stand out was its efforts to improve production scheduling. These included its proprietary shopfloor management software, Paperless, and its Scorecard production system, which enable shopfloor leaders to see how close the shop came to reaching 100% production schedule adherence. Read more about Hirsh Precision Products here.

Ripley Machine Tool, 2018, Business Strategies

Ripley Machine Tool of Ripley, New York, provides precision grinding, CNC turning and CNC milling services for a range of industries and applications. Shortly after the current president, Andy Reinwald, took ownership of the company, “it was like the faucet was shut off business-wise,” he says. His efforts to reduce costs and diversify Ripley’s customer base led to a significant increase in sales and the 2018 Top Shops award for business practices. Read more about Ripley Machine here.

Donson Machine, 2016, Machining Technology

In its seven machining areas, Donson Machine has VMCs, HMCs, five-axis mills, turn-mill lathes, Swiss-types and wire EDMs. The shop also performs a range of finishing, cleaning, passivation and packaging capabilities to complement its machine tools. This variety of machining capabilities, the result of the shop’s continuous reinvestment in new capital equipment and shopfloor technology, earned Donson the 2016 Top Shops award for machining technology. Read more about Donson Machine here.

Protomatic Industries, 2015, Shopfloor Practices

Protomatic is a Dexter, Michigan-based prototype machining and custom short-run production facility serving the medical, automotive, military and aerospace industries. The company established process failure mode and effects analysis (PFMEA) methods as one of the requirements for receiving medical ISO 13485 certification. This comprehensive risk assessment system helped Protomatic stand out in the 2015 Top Shops survey, winning it the 2015 honor for shopfloor practices. Read more about Protomatic here.

Micro-Matics, 2013, Human Resources

Located in Fridley, Minnesota, Micro-Matics specializes in Swiss-type machining of complex components for a range of industries. The company says one of the keys to its success is its employee retention—many have been there for longer than 15 years. Micro-Matics has a number of programs to retain good employees and keep them engaged, such as fair wages, revenue sharing through a monthly bonus plan, insurance and disability, as well as opportunities to cross-train and build skills. These programs also led the company to win the 2013 Top Shops award for human resources. Read more about Micro-Matics here.

Southern Machine Works, 2012

Certified public accountant (CPA) Frank Burch II joined Southern Machine Works, a precision machining and fabrication company in Duncan, Oklahoma, as an accountant in 2001. Using his CPA mindset, he implemented many changes at the company. These include computerized shop management, a facility expansion, installation of a climate-controlled inspection room with CMM, ISO certification and participation in the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA). By 2012, Mr. Burch was serving as the company’s vice president, and Southern Machine Works was recognized with a 2012 Top Shops award. Read more about Southern Machine Works here.

BDE Manufacturing Technologies, 2011

BDE Manufacturing Technologies, based in Beaverton, Oregon, provides CNC milling, turning and EDM services to customers in the electronics, energy and medical industries. The company also has extensive knowledge of CAD/CAM software technology. It uses this expertise to provide consulting, design, prototyping, and research and development services that help shrink new product development cycles for customers. These capabilities also helped the shop stand out in the 2011 Top Shops survey, when it was honored with an award. Read more about BDE Manufacturing Technology here.