Making it in the U.S.A: Climax Portable Machine Tools
An in-depth look at small businesses that are choosing to keep their business in the states and what that means for their bottom line.

Making it in the U.S.A.

Name: Climax Portable Machine Tools, Inc.
Founded: 1966
Location: Newberg, Oregon
CEO: Geoff Gilmore
2009 Revenue: $32M
Manufacturing: Newberg, Ore

Climax Portable Machine Tools designs and manufactures precision portable machining tools. The tools allow customers to perform on-site machining in the shipbuilding, power generation, heavy construction, mining, and service and engineering sectors. The tools have been used to make seismic upgrades to the Golden Gate Bridge, repair the wicket gates on the Hoover Dam and to retrofit turbine housing at power plants.

Click through the slides as CEO Geoff Gilmore shares his story.

Geoff Gilmore

Q: What factors did your company consider when deciding to manufacture domestically?

A: The industries we serve need a supplier they can count on to respond quickly when critical pieces of equipment are in need of repair that could force a shutdown or slow down production. We wanted to focus on being a partner they can turn to for the best machine tools and engineering expertise and support that will help them get their machining job done in the safest, most efficient and cost-effective manner. As a result, we considered our ability to rapidly create innovative design solutions and our ability to rapidly produce and ship machine tool solutions to our customers on a timely basis. Moreover, we believed that by manufacturing domestically, we could maintain Climax’s reputation for producing the highest quality portable machine tools.

Staying Stateside

Q: What is the biggest challenge to maintaining manufacturing in America?

A: The biggest challenge is to find highly-skilled people, especially highly-skilled machinists, trained and experienced in manufacturing processes.

Made in U.S.A.: Not Easy

Q: What is your company doing to promote domestic manufacturing?

A: Climax has promoted domestic manufacturing through a wide variety of programs. We offer a formal year-round internship program to provide students with live experiences/training on our manufacturing floor. We recruit from local high schools, community colleges and technical schools and work with them as advisors. Climax is an active member of the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and contributes a variety of technical papers at AME’s annual meetings held throughout the U.S.A. Two year ago, we worked with the Willamette Valley (Ore.) Metals Consortium to produce a promotional DVD on the positive aspects of a career in manufacturing. The DVD was distributed statewide to high schools, colleges and trade schools. We are also an active member of NW and Mid-Willamette High Performance Enterprise Consortium (HPEC). Climax hosts several yearly instructional programs for this consortium at our facility to share new and innovative lean manufacturing processes.

Spotting Opportunities

Q: Where is there opportunity in the market for your products?

A: As organizations increasingly realize the greater efficiencies and cost savings that result from on-site machining, we find there is significant opportunity for our engineering services, training and on-site portable machining solutions in the these markets:

• power generation including wind, nuclear, fossil fuel and hydro power generation
• shipbuilding and ship repair and conversion
• In- field repair of heavy construction and mining vehicles
• repair and construction of major infrastructure projects including bridges, dams, locks and docking facilities
• Repair and maintenance of oil and gas mining and processing facilities

Making it in the U.S.A.

Check out other small business keeping it in the U.S.A

- Incredible Technologies, Inc.
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Making it in the U.S.A: Climax Portable Machine Tools

An in-depth look at small businesses that are choosing to keep their business in the states and what that means for their bottom line.

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