Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 97

Betenbender Manufacturing Inc.

small fabrication and repair shop since World War II,
and Max Betenbender joined the company in 1967 after
serving in the Army. Not long after they built their first
hydraulic shear for use in their own facility, other customers began asking for shears and the company as it is
known today was formed. The company estimates that
there are more than 3,500 Betenbender shears and press
brakes in use today, and they can be found in nearly
every kind of environment. "We've got them at the bottom of aircraft carriers," Betenbender says.

Ease of Use
The core of the company's success is found in how easy
it makes operating its equipment. Betenbender says
many manufacturers today focus on integrating lots of
complicated computerized controls into their equipment. Although this provides for increased automation
and information gathering, it also makes equipment difficult for the average worker to operate or maintain.
Betenbender Manufacturing's equipment, on the other
hand, is manufactured to be operated simply and
upgraded only if the customer desires.
"We don't build the computer and then put the
machine on it," Betenbender says. The company builds
equipment to customers' specifications, which means
they can have computerized controls added to the
equipment if they want it, but the level of sophistication
is left entirely up to the customer.
"We're still building the simple, plain machine and
then we'll put the computers on them if the customer
wants," Betenbender says.

Midwest

company, and he adds that this is because its equipment
is made proudly in the United States. "We're U.S.-built
and we're built with U.S. product," he says.

Slow and Steady
Betenbender Manufacturing continues to leverage its
experience and reputation for quality equipment into
new business. Betenbender says the company is in the
process of talking to new customers about supplying
them with new equipment rather than sourcing it
from overseas. The company also is hard at work keeping its production facilities up-to-date, with recent
upgrades to its CNC line and the addition of a press
line from a company based in Nebraska that it recently purchased.
Overall, Betenbender says the company anticipates
slow, steady growth over the next several years. Just as
the company prides itself on the simplicity and easy-touse nature of its equipment, Betenbender
Manufacturing plans on keeping its growth as simple
and as easy-to-manage as it possibly can. "We're going to
be good at one thing at a time," Betenbender says. mt

Global Competition
One of the greatest challenges faced by any U.S. manufacturer today is competing with manufacturers based
overseas. Betenbender says the company encounters a
lot of competition from foreign manufacturers who
promise lower prices for their equipment. For many
customers, the lure of lower-cost equipment can be difficult to resist, but Betenbender says they usually end
up paying the price in other ways.
For example, he says, many potential customers have
chosen equipment manufactured overseas from suppliers based in Turkey and other developing countries.
However, even though they may have saved money in
the short term, Betenbender says he's seen many of
those customers run into problems only a few years
later, with equipment breaking down and costing them
more money and time than if they had purchased their
equipment from Betenbender Manufacturing.
Betenbender says customers experience no such
problems when they buy their equipment from the
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 manufacturing-today.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 4
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