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Case Study

Establishing and Maintaining Supply Throughout the Pandemic



Longtime machine shop professional Kevin Curtis was establishing a new plant that would supply components on an immediate basis. To identify the machine tools he was going to use, Curtis requested a 1.0” end mill on a 30-taper machine to cut 1018 steel. The cut was tough, with one potential supplier opting for a different end mill size during a test cut.


Methods completed the test cut on a FANUC RoboDrill, and has since supplied Machining Technology and Global-Tek with numerous machine tools. RoboDrills, in particular, allow Global-Tek to meet firm deadlines, even amid a pandemic, without compromising product quality.


  • RoboDrills have collectively run for 10,000 hours without the need for repairs.
  • Automating two of the machines enabled them to run at 95% efficiency.


Global-Tek LLC


Puerto Rico


Setting up a new machine shop is challenging. Successful owners conduct rigorous research, meticulously inspect every detail, and carefully evaluate every option. So when Kevin Curtis began the search to equip his new venture in 2009, he did his homework.

Putting Machines to the Test

Curtis was looking to purchase 30-taper machines for his new shop, Machining Technology LLC, based in Longmont, Colo. FANUC’s RoboDrill piqued his interest at previous tradeshows; however, there was one problem.

“I didn’t know anything about Methods at the time,” he said. “Purchasing equipment from an unknown entity and relying on them for support and service is a big ask, and I have high expectations.”

The answer was simple: a test cut where Methods competed with machine tool builders to showcase its capabilities. The cut itself was a little more complicated. Curtis wanted a 1.0″ end mill on a 30-taper machine to process grade 1018 steel.

Following numerous meetings and talking to other RoboDrill users, Methods Sales Engineer Bruce Fields performed the test cut at Methods’s Phoenix, Ariz. technical center.

“Long story short, we were impressed,” Curtis said.

Methods was the only company that completed the cut in the required specifications. However, the outcome was superior, too, Curtis said. The RoboDrill was quicker and performed a more rigid cut compared to competitors.

“Methods went above and beyond by showing the RoboDrill’s surface finishing capability on a section of the cut,” Curtis added. “What they were able to accomplish with a standard RoboDrill was flat-out amazing.”

Since that first test cut, Curtis has continued to look toward Methods for the right solutions, eventually requiring multi-tasking machines in 2012. That’s when he reached out to his contact at Methods, Sales Engineer Darren Wall, and started working with the Nakamura-Tome product line, installing five machines.

"They're extremely fast and have tremendous accuracy. One customer actually couldn't understand how we achieved such a good surface finish on some of their handled parts."

Guy Dodds | head of business development

Continuous Support Throughout the Pandemic

Curtis soon established Global-Tek Manufacturing LLC in Puerto Rico. The company produces critical components for the medical, aerospace, and defense markets, which require flawless precision.

Moreover, the coronavirus has amplified logistical complexities and demand for Global-Tek’s products, particularly those manufactured for the defense industry. Customers in this essential market require a consistent stream of parts delivered on time, without fail.

Global-Tek purchases machines based on customer requirements and forecasts. To keep customers supplied with vital components during the pandemic, they need machines on their floor and in production as soon as possible.

For Global-Tek, that dependability and speed come from Wall and the rest of the Methods team.

“Methods has consistently delivered services, support, and products on time,” Dodds said.

Dodds said Methods always recognizes the needs of the customer. Global-Tek placed an order for six RoboDrills on Sept. 29th, and the machines were producing chips by early October.

“When Methods’ machines hit the dock in Puerto Rico, they get unloaded and set up typically that day,” Dodds said. “Darren has been there 100 percent of the time to make sure that happens because he knows how important it is to have that support.”

Throughout the pandemic and countless other crises, Methods has kept up with Global-Tek’s growing demand. The company has purchased 19 machine tools in 2020, they currently have approximately 33 RoboDrills, two automated job cells, and four Nakamura-Tome machines, in addition to other equipment. Two additional RoboDrills were on the way to Puerto Rico in early December, right in the middle of the holidays and some of the more substantial coronavirus outbreaks.

Methods’ dependability is matched by its machines, Dodds said. The RoboDrills have approximately 10,000 hours of production time between repairs. That reliability, precision and swiftness have given Global-Tek a significant competitive advantage.

“Basically, we have been able to provide China pricing within the United States,” he said.

Utilizing Technology

Curtis continues to improve Global-Tek by investing in his team, facility, and hardware to remain competitive.

Recently, Global-Tek installed an in-house anodizing line. The ability to produce coated, ready-to-ship parts without a third party allows the company to manufacture more competitively-with faster turnaround times.

The company also implemented a manganese phosphate plating system, which produces a coating that resists abrasion and corrosion.

Another recent advancement is an automation system applied to two RoboDrills, which allow the machines to run at 95 percent efficiency unattended.

Investing in new equipment and hardware is a significant part of meeting and exceeding goals, Curtis said, but there’s more to Methods than the machines. From the test cut in Arizona to the shipment of RoboDrills on their way to Puerto Rico during a pandemic, he said it’s the unique blend of service, support, and technology that has kept him coming back to Methods after ten years.

“When we need service, Methods gets it done and keeps us running,” he said.