Jessica Okhuysen, Commercial Manager for POK, & Donald Deptowicz, Sales Manager for POK, talk about castings and how their foundry can reduce costs in the manufacturing process.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show. Texas Business Radio. TexasBusinessRadio.com is the website, 844-814-8144 is our 24-hour call-in line. Get your calls in. Get them in now. Get them in later. Get them in whenever you get them in. We’re going to get the experts on here to get those questions answered. We also take them using Twitter, #TBR. Get your questions in that way, or go to the website, TexasBusinessRadio.com. A lot of ways to get us an email. Get your questions in. We’re going to get the experts in here.
We are in Houston, at the George R. Brown Convention Center at the 46th Turbo Machinery and 33rd Pump Symposia, brought to you by Texas A&M, the Turbo Machinery Lab at Texas A&M University. We’re bringing you the best of the show.
One of the things that I found interesting. I’m a machine shop guy, but there is a company that does some very precision casting that I thought was very interesting. We’re talking about POK out of Mexico. We have Jessica Okhuysen and Donald Deptowicz here from POK. Jessica, welcome to the show.
Jessica Okhuysen: Thank you, Matt. Thank you for having us.
Matt Register: Talk to me about POK. What do you do? Who do you do it to?
Jessica Okhuysen: All right, so we’re a 450-employee casting facility in Mexico. We’re vertically integrated, so that means we do everything that you need casting-wise and machining-wise and design-wise and everything-wise.
Matt Register: You do the castings a little different though than almost everybody else here. Talk to me a little bit, Donald, about the technology you’re using. While it’s not new technology, it gives you a lot of capabilities as far as cutting out machining processes out of these parts.
Donald Deptowicz: That’s, right, Matt. The lost wax investment cast process is about 5,000 years old. What we’ve done is started fundamentally changing it by crossing over industries, taking a look at what automotive is doing, oil and gas is doing, aerospace is doing, and merging technologies that none of us would ever talk about before. That collaboration effort opens up whole new doors of opportunity to all of us to take advantage of what some of us developed literally decades ago.
Matt Register: Some of these parts are, to start over, one of the things that machine shops have to do all the time is they get a casting pattern made to get them close. Then they go machine it down to finished size, but this technology allows you to bring out finished parts or near-finished parts and very complex parts, so the total cost of producing that part is very significantly lower than the traditional manufacture methods, correct?
Donald Deptowicz: That’s absolutely right. One of the things we do differently is we look at the total process, the total value stream from the design engineer, through the service people that actual operate the part. We look, understand what’s needed, and then when you bring the engineering, design engineering, together with the manufacturing operation, now you can take advantage of both of our processes collectively and literally eliminate machining operations that traditionally have always been there. You start taking cycle time out, cost out, and improving quality. Every step you take out is an opportunity for quality to improve versus decrease.
Matt Register: The main thing is the cost. This is a very collaborative process between you guys at the foundry and the engineers at the company that’s going to manufacture the part, right?
Jessica Okhuysen: Definitely.
Matt Register: They’ve got to provide you a lot more information than a normal casting customer would.
Jessica Okhuysen: Yeah. For example, we have this part right here. You can’t see it. You’re hearing us on the radio, but we have a part that was made out of bar stock, so you have a round this size, a 5-inch round. They were machining all of it to get to the casting that we’re now casting dimensions.
You can imagine how much cost savings we did to our customer. We had to go back and talk about castability, maybe increase a little bit of some radii inside and make that friendly to our casting process. After that, our customer’s really happy, and we have a good product that we’re delivering to them.
Matt Register: And you now have eliminated all that machining. Some of the surfaces on these, they don’t look like castings, right?
Donald Deptowicz: Right, absolutely. What’s really key about this is if you’re in an aerodynamic situation, like turbocharger or even a prosthetic or orthopedic part, there are many things you can do that are as cast, where you don’t have to go into a machine. If you’re doing any machining, especially on mini air foils like this, every air foil will be different.
You cast that process in, and every air foil comes out identical. Now you’ve got that improved performance, less manufacturing, improved performance on operations, just opens up a whole new world.
Matt Register: Why is it every foundry in the world is not using this technology?
Donald Deptowicz: I’ll give my first impression of it, and that’s because manufacturing doesn’t talk to design engineering. We are stocking our own nuclear hardened, functional silos. Seldom do we visit one another. Many times, engineers are not allowed to talk to manufacturing. Just salespeople talk to salespeople.
We’ve broken down many of those barriers where we bring the right people together to talk technically and how to be able to merge and bring these things together to take advantage of both of our processes. What can I do in engineering that complements the manufacturing and vice versa? And then do those things that have never been done before.
The hardest part is the collaboration and communication. Communications 101 is one of our big problems. You’ve got to get all the group talking, and seldom we’ve got a trust issue. I don’t trust the engineer might give up something, or the salesperson might give up something. Build the relationship.
Matt Register: What it sounds like, and correct me if I’m wrong, but we’re talking about a very collaborative process that the actual casting itself is more expensive than a normal casting, but you cut out a lot of machining out of it, and overall it becomes a cost savings?
Donald Deptowicz: That is correct.
Jessica Okhuysen: Something else to add is that we have proprietary processes in POK, where we can make really large investment castings. We don’t have some right here in the table, but we can go up to one ton investment casting, which is not something that you’re going to find anywhere else in the world.
Matt Register: Yeah, very interesting. During the break, we were talking briefly, and you said something that piqued my interest. Talk to me a little bit because this is a family business, correct?
Jessica Okhuysen: Yes, that is correct.
Matt Register: Talk to me a little bit about your family and your family history inside this company.
Jessica Okhuysen: Yeah, so POK actually stands for Pablo Okhuysen. That’s the family name. I’m fifth generation, and really proud of being part of the foundry and of this business, so 123 years has POK existed.
Matt Register: That’s quite remarkable because very few companies make it into a second or even a third generation, and to make it all the way to a fifth generation is certainly something special. Hats off to you for that. Very interesting company, very interesting product. Guys, we’re down here at the George R. Brown Convention Center talking about rotating equipment and the guys that supply the people that make rotating equipment. POK is the foundry in Mexico. Jessica Okhuysen and Donald Deptowicz, thank you very much guys for joining us.
Jessica Okhuysen: Thank you. Thank you, Matt.
Matt Register: Guys, we’ve got to go pay a couple of our own bills. We’re going to be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be back.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.