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Local machine shop supports COVID-19 testing

The the three Nuformex Partners: Clay Crosby, Operations Manager; Paul Steele, Manufacturing Manager; George Brunner, General Manager. Image provided by Nuformex.

Nuformex, a full-service machine shop in Kingston’s west end, helps inventors and entrepreneurs who require unique, custom prototypes and short runs for their production needs. The trio of Clay Crosby, Paul Steele and George Brunner style themselves a “local, home-grown group of guys 20-years strong within the manufacturing industry.”

The team previously worked together under the banner of Transformix Engineering Inc. They developed an advanced manufacturing technology — a computer numerical control assembly that combines speed, flexibility, and precision into an automated solution for manufacturers across a wide range of industries.

The Transformix intellectual property, and its CNCAssembly technology, was acquired by ATS Automation Tooling, a global automation company in December 2018. Upon completion of Transfomix projects, the team re-emerged under its own corporation, Nuformex Inc., offering services and expertise that fill a gap within the automation industry, according to a press release from the company. 

“When creating Nuformex, we saw that there was a unique opportunity to collaborate with our Production Partners who were looking for a machine shop that went above and beyond,” said Paul Steele, Manufacturing Manager and Partner in Nuformex Inc. “We knew with our combined knowledge in manufacturability, on-demand prototyping, quick turn-around, design intent, and working with R&D teams and Engineers; we were more than ‘just’ a machine shop. We understood the intricacies of helping businesses grow and getting their products to market quickly.”

According to the release, precision automation equipment like CNCAssembly requires exceptional machinists who understand tight tolerances and intricate parts.

“Producing precision machined parts is backed by a lot of engineering resources, however, there are times when it’s a simple concept,” Steele continued. “We then work with our clients, who we call our Production Partners, to offer suggestions for the ease of manufacturability and cost reduction, but still ensuring that the product functions as designed. If we find challenges within the design, we always will make suggestions and recommendations, from design modifications, to using different materials that would function better within the machine.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuformex was enlisted by a global automation company to tool a machine that assembled cartridges for COVID testing.

“COVID has been one of the best situations for our company to be in in terms of really highlighting our capabilities,” Steele said. “At the beginning of COVID, we were approached by one of our clients. They were contracted to manufacture several automated rapid test cartridge manufacturing systems.”

The Nuformex team programmed, machined and produced 174 part numbers in eight weeks, while still maintaining deliverables for their other clients.

Steele said the relationships Nuformex has with their Production Partners are mutually beneficial ones. “They invest and trust in our capabilities to bring their design to life, and we invest in and are passionate about the work we do. We are personally invested, as each part produced has our own time and reputation attached,” he expressed.

“Trust and honesty has proven to be a very powerful asset as companies are COVID pivoting their production and need to work with people who have the expertise and knowledge to get things ramped up quickly,” Steele continued. “Machine shops are an integral part of the manufacturing ecosystem. Every physical thing you touch, no matter the material, could not have been made without a machinist making something first.”

Steele said the partners have seen the whole industry decrease in popularity over the years. Machining is a highly-skilled trade and the partners hope to see a change in the future.

“We just received an opportunity with the Kingston Secondary School to take on co-op students, which we are extremely excited about,” he explained. “We hope to instill our passion for the trades, including welding, millwrighting and machining into our future workforce, which is in dire need from a lack of resources.”

To learn more, visit the Nuformex website, and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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