In a beauty contest for parts, which one would win in your shop?

by Brian Summers

In a recent road trip out to the great northwest, I had the pleasure of visiting a long-time Mastercam customer, Rottler Manufacturing. Anyone familiar with auto racing and rebuilding automotive engines knows where Rottler Manufacturing fits into the picture: they make the machine tools dedicated to building and repairing engines of all kinds, spanning those for small tractors, to race cars and dragsters, up to huge locomotives. The 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Kent, Washington, just outside of Seattle, is modern and impressive in its scope and facilities. Since their inception 90 years ago, they have kept up with the pace of technology and remained flexible to capture new business while keeping their legacy customers satisfied.

I’m quick to get to the people, though, because that’s who really makes up a company – people build its machine tools, serve its customers and perpetuate its values. Well let me tell you, Rottler has one capable and congenial team. Mark Reeb, the Plant Manager, was just one of many nice guys and gals there with remarkable dedication, including the owner Andy Rottler.

While touring their factory in their testing area, I saw a number of machines with engine blocks mounted on them. Some of their gantry-style machines are massive and can support very heavy material blocks that aren’t much smaller than the machines themselves. The extra large diesel blocks for ships and ferry’s were particularly stunning. Maybe my definition of beauty is a little odd, but I was struck by how aesthetically pleasing these parts are with their complexity — giant cylinders and precisely machined surfaces on the cast engine blocks, along with multiple sized holes and contours. Of course as a car buff, I love what they do, too.

Mastercam is a kindred spirit with Rottler in that both companies are sponsors of Roush Yates Engines and both felt pride as Kurt Busch of Stewart-Hass Racing won the 59th Annual Daytona 500. The legendary horsepower of the Ford V8 engine by Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines, powered the No. 41, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion to their first win. As a team, the focus is to manage the crew and win races, so it’s not always obvious the beauty of the machinery under the hood. With the orchestration of high tech companies such as Rottler, Roush Yates and Mastercam, the result is a reliable, powerful championship-winning engine and the latest manufacturing technology money can buy.

And speaking of performance, this visit was an opportunity for us to help fine-tune Rottler’s Mastercam programming workflow and receive good advice on how we can continue to improve. That’s one of the key ways we learn what to work on at Mastercam – customer feedback. We always appreciate it, so if you have any…bring your ideas to us. Contact me at