Bill and Nancy Brach clearly love their business, Brach Machine, Inc., which is now in its 30th year in Batavia. Yesterday, the Brachs showed a visitor around their shop with verve and eagerness to share the details of what they do, how they do it and why it's important.
Going through the stockroom of completed parts, Nancy stops and remarks, "These are parts that most people wouldn't have a clue as to what they are."
"I have no idea," the visitor admits.
"Right, exactly," said Nancy, "but there's someone for whom these are a vital part of their business."
Making vital parts for business is what Bill Brach set out to do when he started his business in 1985. Brach machine makes the tools that make it possible for other manufacturers all over the world to make the parts that make our daily lives a little bit easier.
The ignition on your car, die cast. Your refrigerator handle, probably die cast. The sprinkler head on your hose, die cast.
"You've had your hands on hundreds of die castings," Bill said.
When asked to describe his business, Bill has a ready answer that he enunciates clearly in a voice of good cheer that tells you it's a well-rehearsed line intended to precisely describe the business he's in, as precisely as the tools his employees make.
"We manufacture consumable tooling for the high-pressure die-casting industry."
That's it. That's what Brach Machine does. In a nutshell.
High-pressure die casting involves injecting metal in liquid form -- zinc, aluminum, magnesium, copper, lead, and tin -- into molds to make parts, tools and pieces. Brach Machine makes the parts that make the injection possible.
It's no wonder Bill chooses his words carefully. What he does isn't easy and mistakes are measured in fractions of a millimeter. After showing a visitor a tool that can measure a gap that is a quarter of the width of a human hair, Nancy explains such exacting specifications are necessary for their customers to achieve the quality their customers expect.
A tool that comes out of Brach Machine, cut and crafted from a piece of iron with no do-overs, might be worth $4,500 or more. It needs to be cut and shaved and polished to exact specifications.
That means the people Bill and Nancy hire need to be able to do quality work and have some level of experience suitable to the task. Such employees are hard to find, especially in a tight job market with the unemployment rate hovering near 4 percent.
Brach Machine is advertising for employees more than they ever have and is hosting a pair of open houses to celebrate both 30 years in business and to commemorate Manufacturing Day.
The open houses are Tuesday Oct. 27 and Thursday Nov. 5 with three times available for tours each date: 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 2:30 p.m. Spots are limited, so the open house will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. RSVP to: Tim Gleba, production supervisor, via e-mail [email protected] or phone 343-9134.
Prospective employees are welcome as well as anybody interested in one of Batavia's world-class businesses and manufacturing sites in general.
"The thing we want to share with people is this is a place where you can get a job, and it's a good job and it's a stable job and it's a fair-paying job," Nancy said. "It has benefits and we'll keep you here as long as you will stay."