BY TIM TEPAS
Turning ideas into one-of-a-kind components
The thunderous sounds of cutting, bending, welding and hammering of metal at the Acutech machine shop means a lot of products are being created for area businesses. The 18,000-square-foot facility houses a large collection of cutting-edge machine shop equipment for bringing metal concepts from initial idea to full production. Acutech was founded by experienced manufacturer Dean Grommet and computer engineer Josh Boyce to have a one-stop shop for businesses to get all their metal crafting done in one place. “We have very few limitations with metalworking. Just about anything in metal we can do,” says Grommet. Customers range from building contractors and interior designers searching for custom home décor pieces to firearms manufactures and commercial endeavors with stringent medical or military grade requirements.
A large design team can take a customer’s simple sketch and create detailed computer-designed drawings with defined measurements for one-of-a-kind prototype components. The design team communicates directly with the customer as well as with the metal fabricators for precision and accuracy. “A customer can come in with a part they want machined or cut, and we’ll take their idea, create accurate drawings of the part and have our fabrication team create it,” says Grommet. Because the team is all in-house, the process is streamlined and efficient.
Acutech has four certified licensed engineers for modeling and programming the computer numerical control (CNC) machines used to cut and mill many parts. For cutting, the company has a waterjet cutting table that focuses a tiny jet of water mixed with an abrasive substance to cut intricate designs into metal or stone. It also has a high-powered laser cutter and a plasma cutter that uses a torch at approximately 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit to melt through steel up to 7 inches thick. Acutech has traditional manual lathes and mills, but computer-controlled mills programmed by the engineers improve the precision of parts while keeping costs low because parts aren’t created by hand by a metal craftsman.
Many of Acutech’s customers seek unique architectural pieces for Montana homes. Custom iron fire screens, stove hoods, lighting fixtures, hand railings and themed artwork are a growing market for the business. A full service blacksmithing shop builds wrought iron and hammered metal artistic pieces and certified welders can weld just about any type of metal.
When Acutech was awarded a contract from Kalispell Regional Medical Center to manufacture surgery room tables and pass-through cabinets for its new nursing wing, the design team was able to improve upon the specifications and deliver medical-grade stainless steel products beyond what the hospital requested. Grommet says, “We designed the cabinets with larger glass, rounded corners, and completely flush handles and hinges so no one would snag their clothing on them.”
With more than highly skilled employees and the latest computer-controlled tools, machined parts from Acutech are being installed in businesses all over the valley. The remodel of the Whitefish train depot is being accented by custom pieces from Acutech and a specialized bioreactor was built for renewable energy company, Algae AquaCulture Technology in Whitefish. The increase in production and types of projects Acutech is currently manufacturing sheds light on the health of the economy in the Flathead. “We build prototypes for people with new ideas. We see just about every new innovation going on around here in the valley,” says Grommet. “There are some exciting new companies starting up and something new comes in our door every week.”
3816 Highway 40,
892-4030 | www.waterjetcut.co