North Salt Lake, Utah

Co-founder and COO Steve Larsen sees customization and customer service as big differentiators for the machine tool manufacturer.

Photos courtesy Revolution Machine Tools

Larsen co-founded Revolution Machine Tools (RMT) with Kyle Jorgenson, whose father started Jorgenson Machine Tools. “Kyle has been in the business his entire life,” says Larsen. As president of Jorgenson Machine Tools, he “grew the business by 500 percent.”

The now-shuttered business later struggled under new ownership, leading Jorgenson to team with Larsen and develop a new catalog of machine tools and launch RMT. The pair also recruited “brilliant designer” Atakan Nerminer to help design a new catalog of machine tools.

“We weren’t trying to compete with JMT so we had to come up with all new stuff,” says Larsen. “So we did.”

Designed in Utah and manufactured largely in Europe, RMT’s products include plate rolls, lasers, press brakes, and other machine tools for metal fabrication. New categories include pipe threading, grooving, and beveling machines for the nuclear industry and oil and gas.

Customization is a calling card for RMT. “When you look at our competitors, there are massive companies out there,” says Larsen. “They’re in large part cookie-cutter. They have a set of particular products and that’s what they sell.”

Not RMT: It can offer features to order “to make the exact tool they need,” says Larsen. “We have knowledge in those spheres most companies don’t.”

One Utah-based client was spending a lot of time grinding after cutting 60-foot metal sheets with plasma, so RMT offered to make a large-scale laser system with beveling capability. “He said, ‘There’s no such thing out there,'” says Larsen. “I said, ‘I know, but we can make it.’ . . . We made a fully enclosed laser system that would cut his eight-foot by 60-foot sheets all at once and go right down the line and cut the bevels at each end.”

It allowed the customer to triple production. “It was significant,” says Larsen. The company saw ROI in less than a year.

It’s also about “the feel and customer service of a smaller company who actually cares,” adds Larsen. ‘When you have a problem with your AMADA brake, they sometimes say, ‘We can’t even see you for three weeks.’ That could be the feeder machine into all the production you do, so the whole shop has to go home. That’s a big problem, obviously. “

RMT’s largely European manufacturing base has been heavily vetted over the course of the co-founders’ careers. “We’ve worked on these relationships over years,” says Larsen.

RMT customers include large and small contract manufacturers and aerospace companies. “That’s what’s fun — partnering with people,” says Larsen. “When you help a company hire five new employees, that’s what’s driving us.”

With a showroom, offices, and warehouse space at its 12,000-square-foot facility in North Salt Lake, RMT is in the process of opening another location in Augusta, Georgia, that will handle East Coast distribution and potentially some manufacturing.

Larsen says the move could help reduce lead times, currently at 12 to 16 weeks, by as much as 50 percent. “If we have something here, the control is ours,” says Larsen. “I can’t make other factories do that.”

It’s the tip of the spear for RMT’s expansion strategy. “We’re putting the clutch in,” says Larsen, projecting a 3X jump if all goes to plan. “Once we shift that gear and let the clutch go, the potential for acceleration is exponential.”

Challenges: “Providing the solutions to our customers in a more timely manner — that’s the big challenge,” says Larsen.

Skyrocketing shipping costs are another. “In the last year, prices have doubled. If you look at the past five years, in some cases they’ve tripled. Ocean freight and trucking charges are just going through the roof.”

Opportunities: The ability to customize is a big one, and Larsen also says RMT sees an opportunity to manufacture in the U.S. by as soon as 2022. “We’re hoping with this new facility we can start to get something going here [in the U.S.],” says Larsen. “We’ll get it when we need it and it will be American-made. That matters.”

Needs: Employees, including salespeople and service techs. Larsen anticipates filling 20 positions at the upcoming 30,000-square-foot facility in Georgia and HQ in North Salt Lake by the end of 2021. “People are always one of the biggest things,” says Larsen. “Anyone who says people aren’t their most valuable asset is fooling themselves.”


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