Creativity above all
Placing faith in the capabilities of its engineers, MJC Engineering & Technology is never satisfied with the conventional, constantly attempting to create original solutions for the metal forming industry
Back in the late 1980s, the production of composite cylinders was emerging as a booming industry.
At this time, Carl Lorentzen – President of MJC Engineering & Technology, was working for a metal forming company, having just moved from Denmark to the USA. Carl and the owner of the company in question quickly realized they were seeing eye to eye, and the two of them focused on developing the division of the business that in 1994 would become MJC Engineering, in response to what they perceived as a lack of quality service and support within the CNC metal spinning machine markets.
Despite its relatively small size of about 50 employees, today MJC is one of the US’ leading developers of metal forming machines and technologies, largely owing to the talent of its staff. “We have gathered a very good team of people who have a passion for what they do. It is one of our strengths that we allow our employees the creative freedom to try new things, something that might not happen at bigger companies, where creative initiative can be seen as incompatible with the business’ strategy. For us, it is important to keep our engineers happy and let them have fun,” Carl expounds.
“Nowadays, it is all about finding the right people who know how to do programing and work with software, and I am confident that we are way ahead of the competition in this respect. A machine is a machine, but it is not the leading aspect anymore. What has become more important, is the actual software that goes into it and its ability to increase productivity and quality,” he reasons. “We are creative enough to come up with a solution that might be a little bit different to what is conventional today, but this is precisely why the customers are attracted to us. If we were to be compared to other companies, we are different in that we are bold enough to take on various challenging tasks. We dare to say ‘Yes, we can do that’, without knowing for sure that we can actually do it.”
While taking full ownership of the design and assembly of its products from its 30,000 square feet facility, MJC outsources most of the manufacturing processes, purely due to cost efficiency considerations. “It is much cheaper for us to outsource than to do the manufacturing ourselves. We build few elements in-house and outsource the rest, because it is much more convenient for us this way,” Carl claims.
Almost 25 years after MJC was created, the company has diversified its offering significantly, moving from composite cylinders to create numerous new machines and technologies, which the California-based company exports to countries like India, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, as well as selling into its regional markets in North America. “We have developed solutions for a number of fields, such as lighting and ventilation, but right now, there are a lot of opportunities in the aerospace and defence industries,” Carl reveals. “In these sectors, a lot of people are still making certain parts in the old-fashioned way, not quite understanding the new technology that is out there. To give you an example, the lip skin for the jet engine inlet used to be made by hand and it took five or six people to build one lip skin, whereas now the process is fully automated. Similarly, we just received an order to make artillery shells for an ammunition plant in Eastern Europe, and these parts have been made in the same way si ce 1940. I am really proud that we are able to show a new process for producing them.
“Automation, in general, is what the customers are increasingly looking at. A lot of clients want robots to tend their machines, but also to do secondary operations. MJC is a certified ABB robot Value Provider and handle standalone robotic applications. We have recently struck a partnership with a Canadian company called Clearpath to be its certified integrator here, in California. Its OTTO autonomous vehicles use technologies that are really taking off and are the sort of innovations we believe in. In the old days, such cars used to have sensors on the floor, but it is not like that anymore. They are all run wirelessly and you can program where you want them to go on your iPad or computer,” Carl discusses.
“What is more, weight savings have become a major focus for every company in the aerospace and automotive world,” he continues. “In metal forming, you can make the materials stronger by using cold-molding, which means that lighter parts can be designed. We are well-positioned in this area, because this is exactly the kind of equipment we engineer.”
Benefitting yet again from the brilliance of its engineering team, MJC set up a new company – Green Hydraulic Power, earlier in 2018, after a few years of hard work trying to devise a way to integrate hydraulic power units with variable speed drives. “We bought a variable speed drive from Siemens and a new type of hydraulic pump, and although it was not easy, we figured out how we can combine them. We now have about 20 machines using the technology, which is working fantastically. It is a quiet system that generates less heat and consumes less energy than ordinary hydraulic power systems.
“We are just laying the foundations of the company, but we are already witnessing that big players like Siemens are very keen to work with us, because energy saving is becoming a top priority for everyone. The technology is really solid. It is not necessarily new, it has been around for about 30 years, but nobody took the time to develop the whole hydraulic power pack up to this point. We are planning to push Green Hydraulic Power forward later this summer, when we get some of the third-party test results, which, we hope, will verify the savings on energy consumption and heat generation, the technology can bring about,” Carl outlines.
Simultaneously, MJC is working on a number of other sizable projects, both domestically and internationally, which will keep the company busy throughout the remainder of 2018. “These are mainly in aerospace and defence, because, as I mentioned earlier, there are endless opportunities in these sectors and we want to make the most of them.”
MJC Engineering & Technology
Services: Developing specialized metal forming machines and technologies