Absolute Machine Tools Celebrates 30 Years as Machine Tool Importer and Distributor
Absolute Machine Tools is very proud to celebrate our 30th year as a machine tool importer and distributor in North America!
Steve Ortner and friend Hayden Wellman were both 21 years old when they founded Absolute in 1988, getting their start in a garage in the backyard of Wellman’s father’s home in Elyria, Ohio.
Working as representative for digital readout maker Anilam, Ortner made contact with Taiwanese machine tool manufacturer Johnford in 1990, which became the company’s first OEM partner. In 1998, Absolute built its headquarters in Lorain, Ohio, and is still based there today.
Partnerships with You Ji for vertical machines and Tongtai (former Hitachi Seiki OEM) for drill tap machines and turning centers came next, followed by relationships with Nexturn, QuickTECH, and Precihole. In 2011, Absolute bought a building in Mason, Ohio, and added the AccuteX lines of wire EDM equipment.
In 2013, the company opened its Elgin, Illinois, technical center and achieved authorized integrator status with Fanuc Robotics America. In 2017, Absolute acquired Advanced Machinery Systems, thereby becoming the exclusive importer/distributor of LICO CNC screw machines for turning complex small parts. EDM drilling specialist Yougar also became a partner in 2017.
Courtney Ortner, a sales and marketing professional, married Steve Ortner in 1992 and joined him in managing Absolute Machine Tools in 1993. The couple worked together seven days a week building the company.
“In the beginning, we only had ourselves to worry about,” said Courtney, who now serves as Absolute’s chief marketing officer. “Absolute Machine Tools evolved from a small garage to currently four fully-staffed technical centers and a distribution network that spans all of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Now it’s many more than just us, and there’s a responsibility that goes along with that and we are never complacent with our success. We keep striving every day to provide advanced technology and services to our customers.”
Continually Striving for Excellence
Today, Absolute sells and supports a comprehensive selection of machine tools, including Johnford heavy-duty machining and turning centers; Tongtai high production machining and turning centers; You Ji vertical lathes; QuickTECH mill/turn centers; LICO multi-slide multi-axis screw machines and mill/turn centers; APEC 5-Axis gantry-style linear motor machines; Nexturn Swiss-type lathes; AccuteX wire EDM and sinker EDM machines; Yougar EDM hole drilling machines; and Precihole gun drilling machines.
Since the beginning, Absolute has offered some of the most heavy duty, accurate and productive machines available in the industry.
“Not one of our partners is new to the machine tool industry,” President Steve Ortner said. “In fact, we’ve had a partnership with Johnford going on 28 years now. We’ve made it a focus to remain reliable and consistent in our relationships with our OEMs, which carries through to our customers and our support to them with service and spare parts.”
Absolute Machine Tools now has direct full-service technical centers in Lorain, Ohio; Livonia, Michigan; Mason, Ohio; and Elgin, Illinois.
In addition to offering an ever-expanding selection of machines, Absolute has also grown its engineering services.
“Our business has changed from customers simply buying a standard machine and applying it themselves to purchasing more complete turnkey system solutions for a certain application or family of parts,” Courtney Ortner said. “We help customers be flexible and profitable with their investment. We want to be a partner in solving their manufacturing challenges by providing profitable solutions. Having multiple sources of machine tools allows us to apply the best machine to the job.”
Steve Ortner pointed out that providing such services to Absolute’s core customers is critical when manufacturing trends such as Industry 4.0 and other emerging technologies are difficult for job shops to implement.
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