The U.S. Manufacturer for U.S. Manufacturers

ARCH Cutting Tools
Written by Pauline Müller

Established in 2011, ARCH Cutting Tools may be a comparatively young manufacturer of highly engineered metalworking solutions, but it is big for its age. Manufacturing a broad offering, from innovative solid carbide and indexable tools to complex, custom multi-functional tooling the company has built great depth in its capabilities and knowledge—all while remaining surprisingly adaptable for its size, thanks to its 16 facilities throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

The result is that this high-performing team and its innovative solutions provide clients with the wisdom of the ages—and not just metaphorically. The company has over a century of collective engineering knowledge, which the organization credits for its position in today’s industry. And this generational knowledge is passed on to up and coming staff members.

“I like to say that we have the reach and resources of a large manufacturer with the flexibility and service of a local one,” says Anja Taylor, National Channel Manager.

ARCH Cutting Tools is the go-to company for quality manufacturing and quick turnaround times, and this is reflected both in its many repeat customers and its industry awards. In 2020, for example, ARCH won the international ANCA Tool of the Year Award for its tooling manufacturing on the Australia-based ANCA CNC Machine. Rather than just looking at purpose and performance, the specifications for this award included considering aspects such as surface finish and the complex custom details that give the product a leading edge. For this entry, the team went all out to display its top-notch design talent in this combo tool that puts six cutting tools into a single, improved, better-lasting product.

Other specialty capabilities at ARCH Cutting Tools include inserts such as application-specific ceramics, cubic boron nitrate (CBN), and polycrystalline diamond (PCD). Strengthened with cobalt, these substances are attached to different metals through a process known as brazing, where heat is combined with a filler metal to achieve the desired bond. Along with manufacturing brand new inserts, ARCH also has the capabilities of servicing the customer’s existing inserts through value-add programs.

“Every time we work with our customers on a new project, it gives us exposure to new materials and components that allow us to create the most innovative designs,” says Taylor, underlining the company’s knack for challenging projects. With a deep-rooted history of manufacturing in America, she emphasizes, “I like to say that we are the U.S. manufacturer for U.S. manufacturers.”

With a roster of the industry’s leading minds and machinery, the ARCH Cutting Tools team is confident in its unique value proposition. “We see custom tools as the way of the future. And optimizing processes and saving our customers money while supporting them in filling the skills gap that our industry is experiencing is our goal,” says Taylor. Beyond custom engineering, ARCH also offers a sophisticated range of standard tools complete with a comprehensive service platform.

One of the company’s most notable differentiators is its approach to finding solutions. At ARCH, simply developing the correct tool for its own sake does not equate to a complete answer; instead, its engineers consider the end use of tools and how they will function in the customer’s entire system. In this way, the team develops solutions that align with final processes so that each component is thoughtfully designed to help achieve an overall goal.

Noting a rapid evolution in machine tools, Taylor points out that the trend is for precision components to multitask on a level that has never been seen before, with revolutions per minute (RPM) going as high as 20,000 in contrast to the much lower rates that were the industry norm not long ago. The good news is that, as automation becomes increasingly common, ARCH Cutting Tools is perfectly positioned to provide customers with optimized systems that integrate seamlessly into existing setups.

Headquartered in Warren, Michigan, ARCH Cutting Tools also has facilities in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The company has built its reputation for integrity on the legacies of the companies it has acquired over the past 12 years. Alongside the skills and knowledge they bring are valuable relationships that span generations and include entire communities of industry specialists.

ARCH’s consultative approach to industries, applications, and methods continuously expands its capabilities, both in design and manufacturing. In this way, the company challenges itself to learn, innovate, and develop expertise with every project.

“We foster an environment of innovation and continuous improvement. We improve upon our designs by collecting data from testing,” says Jocelyn Oberlander, Marketing Manager. To this end, the engineers at each facility are encouraged to collaborate to create market-changing designs.

ARCH Cutting Tools also belongs to the Industrial Supply Association (ISA), of which Taylor is a committee member for its Emerging Leaders program. The team also has a presence at industry events and trade shows, including those of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), amongst others. These relationship-building opportunities allow the team to meaningfully connect with industry partners, machine tool builders, and end users alike.

In addition, ARCH Cutting Tools’ President, Jeff Cederstrom, is also a board member of the United States Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI), giving the team a front-row seat to future industry trends and outlooks while sharing its innovation at a high level. The institute works to represent, promote, and expand the U.S. cutting tool industry and promote the benefits of buying American-Made cutting tools manufactured by its members.

“We stand behind our tools. We partner with our customers and walk the road with them while they test the tool, before helping them implement the tool at their plant,” Taylor explains. Whether customers need additional tools to solve existing system challenges or new systems developed from the ground up, the ARCH Cutting Tools team is prepared and ready to assist.

ARCH Cutting Tools tailors its program around each product installation, keeping a direct line of contact between itself, the channel, and the end user to ensure that they enjoy the best after-sales care possible. Apart from maintaining lifelong customer relationships in this way, the company’s leadership focuses on operational excellence, ensuring that its facilities and capabilities remain state-of-the-art and ready to respond to customer needs.

That is part of why the company decided to buckle down and integrate its offering across all its facilities during COVID-19. To this end, the team introduced a central distribution center, allowing clients to utilize one touch point to get their standard tooling orders processed, resulting in an ease of doing business. The operations upgrade also meant that the business was ready to return stronger than before as soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted. The efforts proved successful, and the company saw impressive growth as a result.

Taylor attributes this can-do attitude to the company’s approach to surmounting challenges: “We really foster an environment of collaboration, and we do a really good job of making sure that everyone feels like they are heard,” she says, highlighting how different views combine to strengthen the company’s solution-finding power across its departments.

To ensure ongoing improvement and the professional growth of all its team members, ARCH Cutting Tools also makes it easy for staff to engage in continuous education to help them evolve and develop their skills further. Apprenticeships also allow the company to hire local talent and develop it in-house.

“Our company was founded on putting culture first, and our team exemplifies that. We’re also a flat organization where issues can be addressed at any level,” Oberlander says of the company’s openness and collaborative approach.

The company is equally committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates. Each location under the ARCH umbrella gets to support the charities and community projects of their choice, allowing staff to keep their contributions of money, time, and energy local and impactful.

Looking ahead to the future growth that is predicted for the precision tooling sector, ARCH Cutting Tools is choosing to increase its reach through additional mergers and acquisitions while working hard to expand its custom and standard tooling offer.

To be sure, this is not a company that waits around for things to happen; instead, ARCH Cutting Tools helps shape the future it wants to see. By educating the next generation of trades, the company is actively securing its future in engineered custom tooling. It is also looking to expand into developing products for emerging industries while continuously improving its scale, capabilities, and technology. ARCH Cutting Tools has established its brand as a trusted manufacturing partner. As Oberlander says, “Technology will continue improving our already amazing products.”

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