Boston Centerless – A Peek into Six Decades of Striving for Excellence

Steven Tamasi, CEO

Our History

No matter what Len Tamasi did in his life, he strived for perfection.  He was a true perfectionist.

To understand where Boston Centerless is today, it’s important to talk about where we came from.  Len emigrated from Italy to the United States when he was seventeen years old, attracted by the American dream that drew so many others here. His family settled in Massachusetts.

After serving a few years in the Air Force, Len returned home to Boston.  He was first introduced to centerless grinding when working in a large machine shop while attending night school, hoping to one day be an architect.  However, as time went on, he came to realize that his perfectionist approach to this form of abrasive machining that incorporated an element of creativity and art form enabled him to do things that no one else could imagine.  Len believed that if he went out on his own, he could provide the best centerless grinding services in the Boston area, and in 1958 he quit his job, took out a second mortgage on his house, and founded Boston Centerless in a small garage with one centerless grinding machine.

Len Tamasi (left) starts Boston Centerless.

Len’s initial business plan was simple: to provide his customers with excellent quality and service, in the hopes that he would build a solid reputation and more work would follow.  That plan led him to twenty-six straight years of sales growth.  Over that period, Boston Centerless became a national leader for both grinding services (GrindAll Division) and accuracy ground bar materials (AccuRod® Division), known for its ability to hold the tightest tolerances in the industry.

In the early 1990’s, the business transitioned to the second generation. As I assumed the leadership role, I quickly saw the potential to exponentially grow the AccuRod Division.  With the rapid growth and increased sophistication of the CNC Swiss Screw machine industry, a real need for ultra-precise ground bar materials became apparent.

To position the company to take advantage of this significant opportunity, we put a plan together that included creating a World-Class culture, building a new, larger and lean factory, upgrading our equipment and developing an infrastructure to effectively manage all of these initiatives.  In 1995, we set out on our Lean journey and looked to cement our Core Purpose and Core Values.

Len Tamasi

We wanted to build on the foundation of excellence that Len had started.  With participation from the entire company, we agreed that if we executed on these initiatives, we could be a role model for U.S. manufacturing, and thus that became our Core Purpose.  After a few iterations, the Core Values that guide us every day are Be Trustworthy, Take Initiative, Put the Team First & Demonstrate Excellence.  By following these values in everything that we do, we showcase our desire to be not only a role model for other manufacturers, but also a thought leader in our industry.

Our Maturation

At the start of 1999, we moved into a new state-of-the-art facility in Woburn, MA, built specifically to optimize our production processes.  Today, we produce five times more than we did when we moved in.  That growth has come in many forms.  Throughout the 2000’s it was primarily from expansion of the existing products and services; grinding services from thru-feed to infeed to form grinding and producing and distributing precision bar materials of all types of stainless steels, titanium, aluminum, red metals and plastics.  In 2004, we created the PinGage Division and began selling thread and gear measuring wires and cylindrical plug gages.  We produce gage pins to 10 millionths of an inch.

Part of the reason we were able to achieve such growth was in no small part due to our application of lean manufacturing principles.  In 2006, we were awarded the Shingo Prize Northeast Silver Medal for Excellence in Manufacturing, marking the first time a metal working contract manufacturer in the United States had received this prize.

As we entered the 2010’s, we solicited feedback from our customers and the industry in general, and as a result, determined that we needed to do more.  As the OEMs in the Medical Device, Aerospace, Automotive and Defense industries continued to grow, so too did the need for a true, international supplier and distributor of high precision raw materials and preparation services required to help companies machining metal and plastic components become highly efficient.

To help meet this growing need, we drafted a strategy that included not only product and service line extensions, but also geographic expansion. Since establishing that plan, we have added new distribution centers in Cleveland, OH and Minneapolis, MN, and have established sales representation in East Asia. We invested in a Material Validation Center, through which we can provide ultrasonic testing, eddy current testing, XRF alloy verification and laser marking.  And in an effort to assist our customers with their challenges to maximize their capital and human resources, we began offering consulting and training services for CNC Swiss machining through our SwissAssist program.

Where We Are Today

Today, we not only supply round bar materials, but also precision flats and additional raw material shapes and forms. The various material preparation services we offer make it easy for our customers to do business with a single vendor. We also customize inventory management programs.

Our primary market segment is the Medical Device industry. We also service the Aerospace, Defense, and Automotive industries, as well as a multitude of others. Our materials are utilized in critical applications all over the world, whether it’s keeping an airplane in the air or providing life-saving surgical implants and instruments. We have sold our products to all 50 states in the last year and to over 20 countries around the world. Over the course of our history, we have transformed ourselves from a small centerless grinding company to a full service precision material and preparation services company.

Steve Tamasi

Ultimately, we are here to stand as an industry leader and to help our clients grow and expand. We do that by striving for our core purpose and operating based on our core values. To find out how we could serve you and your business, contact us at 800-343-4111 or info@bostoncenterless.com. You can also visit us online at www.bostoncenterless.com.

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