Shrinking leads to expansion

Features - Cover Story

Boulevard Machine & Gear grows by investing in Haimer shrink-fit technology.

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A sample of Boulevard Machine’s output.
All photos courtesy Boulevard Machine & Gear

Family-owned gear cutting shop Boulevard Machine & Gear was founded in 1954 to serve the Pioneer Valley, a hub for the paper industry in Massachusetts. Throughout the years, with various family members in charge, the company transitioned to primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries. In 2006, Susan Kasa acquired the company and transformed it into the versatile manufacturing facility it is today.

While Susan’s focus was to grow the company and have it become more efficient, Boulevard Machine’s staff started to notice they’d have some issues completing certain jobs with their conventional side-lock-and-collet tool holders. They immediately reached out to Lindco Springfield Sales Engineer Jim Roberts to see if he could guide them to a solution.

“Boulevard wanted to run more accurately with tooling and extend tool life,” Roberts explains. “I immediately recommended they take a look at the Haimer product offering.”

After seeing some of the benefits firsthand, Boulevard Machine decided to take the plunge and invest in Haimer products – a Power Clamp Special Edition shrink-fit machine, Standard Shrink chucks, and Power Shrink chucks and extensions, with the help of Haimer USA Regional Sales Manager Mike O’Connor.

Boulevard Machine & Gear’s Owner Susan Kasa, and her son, CNC Programmer Kristian Kasa.

Based on its high gripping torque and 360° clamping around the cutting tool, Haimer shrink-fit technology provides superior gripping torque and allows for excellent runout accuracy, balance repeatability, and consistent clamping. Boulevard Machine now has a wide assortment of CAT40 and HSK-63 holders in Power and Standard shrink, along with the extensions.

Since switching to the heat-shrink holders, machinists noticed they were able to pick up their feeds and speeds as well. They cut 750ipm with the 3/4" Haimer Ultra Short Power Shrink HSK-63 holder. Before, they could only cut 300ipm in the same material.

“We have more than doubled our feeds with the Haimer Ultra Short Power Shrink,” CNC Programmer Kristian Kasa explains. “It’s our go-to holder for roughing. It keeps our projection length short, which gives us much more rigidity than a conventional side lock or milling chuck.”

A view of Boulevard Machine & Gear’s shop floor.

Boulevard Machine is now doing as many 5-axis jobs as they do 3- or 4-axis jobs, whether it’s 3+2 or 5-axis simultaneously. The Haimer Power Mini shrink-fit holders and shrink-fit extensions help access all the hard-to-reach areas easily.

Boulevard Machine’s selection of Haimer shrink-fit tool holders.

“We’ve had extensions stacked into Haimer basic holders with more than 10" of projection with as little as 0.0002" runout,” Kristian says. “Without these holders, we wouldn’t be able to machine a large amount of the jobs through the shop.”

For Boulevard Machine, it was an easy decision to purchase and invest in Haimer technology. When Susan acquired the company, she decided to modernize it by reinvesting between 20% and 30% of its yearly revenue into capital equipment. The reason for this was to innovate for the current workforce and for the next generation of machinists joining the team.

Boulevard Machine’s Haimer Power Clamp Special Edition shrink-fit tool setter.

“We work closely with our programmers and engineers to make sure that what we’re implementing and using is making their jobs as easy and efficient as possible,” Susan explains. “Having the Haimer technology and staying up to date with everything else, our team is no longer hesitant about quoting or taking jobs, and they have the confidence to do any task because of the sophisticated technology.”

Like Haimer, Boulevard Machine keeps employees at the center of their company and strives to produce high-quality products every time.

After successfully implementing Haimer and other technologies, Boulevard Machine quickly outgrew their footprint and decided to move to a larger, state-of-the-art facility in Westfield, Massachusetts.

“It really has increased productivity and energized the employees to be in this bright, new building,” Susan relates. “We’ve even hosted visits for people interested in the Haimer technology. Honestly, a lot of our success has come from collaboration, especially between us, Lindco Springfield, and Haimer.”

Kristian adds, “I would recommend Haimer to anybody who might not even be struggling. Just test it and see how much more you can push your machine and increase productivity.”

Boulevard Machine & Gear

Haimer USA

Lindco Springfield