RX Industries Brings High-Tech to Hilton Head

The OpExChange thrives on success stories, driven by a collective “how-did-they-do-it” spirit. This thirst for knowledge fueled our 2024 plant visit to RX Industries (RXI) on Hilton Head Island. RXI has a remarkable journey. In 2020, at the start of the pandemic’s turmoil, Tom Rougeux found himself unemployed. After much soul searching and prayer, Tom decided to build upon his own manufacturing experience in CNC machining by launching RXI. Tom made it pointedly clear at the onset of this meeting – his wife Sarah deserves all the credit for this decision.

Fast forward three years, and RXI boasts state-of-the-art, automated machinery crafting mission-critical parts for space, aerospace, military, and medical sectors. Despite its compact size of only thirteen employees, the team maintains a tight-knit atmosphere, deeply engaged in their work and eager for further growth.

This visit brought together OpExChange peer manufacturers from across the state. They sought not just inspiration from Tom’s story and recommendations, but also the opportunity to offer their own insights, collectively propelling RXI down the road of continuous improvement and growth.

Only the Best for RX Industries
During the facility tour and presentation, it was evident that RXI spared no expense in their goal to produce the highest quality parts. From their CAD/CAM room to the factory floor, they have outfitted their team with top-of-the line resources. The nature of the parts they produce requires precision manufacturing. Tom stated that “RX Industries is definitely not your father’s machine shop. We invest heavily in automation.”

Their two most recent acquisitions were sourced from DMG Mori, a renowned global manufacturer known for their high precision and cutting-edge technology. During the tour, one of these machines was producing parts that would be travelling to space while the other was creating parts to assist our military in the field.

The NTX 2500 is the latest purchase from DMG Mori. Tom stated that when he was searching for the right solution, he was looking for something between a Rolls-Royce and a Ferrari. He found that in DMG Mori, particularly with the quality and reliability for which they are known as well as the modernity of their controllers. When they purchased this model, there were only thirty of them sold in the USA. This machine consolidates multiple operations that would traditionally require separate CNC machines and setups, addressing a significant concern of setup time in machine shops. The NTX excels in 6-sided machining with its turn and mill spindle, facilitating 5-axis simultaneous machining. Tom also pointed out the spindle’s compact design, enhancing its maneuverability between centers.

The second DMG Mori machine, the DMU 60 eVo linear is also a 5-axis CNC machine. It was specifically designed for the aerospace industry. The linear drives allow for greater versatility for diverse parts and faster machining times due to the linear drives. It is also equipped with a twenty-four-pallet automation cell. With all the features of this machine, it is capable of performing “Lights Out Manufacturing” which essentially means it can run overnight without an attendant.

The company also invested recently in two Swiss Turning Centers from Morris South, a CNC machine tool distributor and fellow OpExChange member. These Tsugami Swiss machines, one of which is a 5-Axis Swiss, offer a unique technology which flips the script on traditional machining methods. While conventional CNC machines rotate the workpiece and move cutting tools around it, Swiss machining keeps the tools fixed and advances the bar stock through them. Swiss machining offers benefits such as extremely tight tolerances, the ability to produce more complex parts, and faster machining speeds compared to traditional CNC machines. It is also very well suited to lights-out manufacturing. Tom added that Swiss machining is a very technically advanced and complex method of making parts and gives them an ever-widening capability to serve the aerospace and space markets.

Should a small company invest in ERP?
Many small businesses, especially startups, often forgo investing in an ERP system due to their high costs, with funding usually prioritized for other “essential” needs. Although Tom had a solid background in CNC machining, he also possessed expertise in implementing ERP systems. Tom was resolute from the outset to implement an ERP system for his business, even before selecting equipment, viewing it as a critical foundation. His journey involved researching 270 ERP systems, eventually narrowing this down to twenty contenders after three months, and further refining to a shortlist of ten, from which he interviewed seven. Following the thorough evaluation process, ProShop ERP/MES/QMS emerged as the obvious choice for RXI. During the visit by OpExChange members, Tom emphasized his strong endorsement of ProShop, crediting it for his business’s growth. He stressed that while sophisticated equipment could be replaced, ProShop ERP was irreplaceable; it stands as the cornerstone of his business.

So why should a small manufacturer implement an ERP system such as ProShop? Tom emphasized that a quality ERP system brings about efficiency, control, and ultimately, profitability. He shared impressive statistics, citing a 20% reduction in overhead, a 90% decrease in late orders, a 400% improvement in planning throughput, and a remarkable 300% return on investment within the first year alone!

Tom highlighted several key features of the system that contribute to its value for his team. Besides functioning as an ERP system, it also serves as a manufacturing execution system (MES) and a quality management system (QMS). The color-coded visual dashboarding provides instant visibility into status and predicts machine availability. “With this system, we can manage our work as effectively as a Fortune 500 company,” Tom exclaimed.

A Little Help from Your South Carolina Friends
South Carolina is considered one of the most manufacturing-friendly states in the United States. It offers a business-friendly environment with favorable tax policies, low cost of doing business, and various manufacturing incentives. Tom acknowledged that he could not have done this without the help of the South Carolina support system.

The Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation played a pivotal role by connecting RXI with a wealth of resources across South Carolina, contributing significantly to RXI’s growth and success. The South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership offered expert guidance in pursuing certifications and training, while the South Carolina Department of Commerce provided grants to alleviate costs.

Tom and RXI recently became members of the OpExChange and are enthusiastic about engaging in peer-to-peer collaboration to enhance their progress. Reflecting on their experience at the first plant visit they attended, Tom remarked, “I witnessed the professionalism, helpfulness, and cooperation among all of you… It’s something I haven’t encountered elsewhere.”

Positioned for The Future
RXI has already left an indelible imprint on South Carolina. They have brought cutting-edge technology to Hilton Head Island and are now supplying products that extend across the globe and even into space. With certifications in ISO 9001 and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) already achieved, and AS9100 soon to follow, they are demonstrating their commitment to excellence. Expansion plans are in motion, with designated floorspace allocated for increased automation. Under the guidance of outstanding leadership, RXI prioritizes the professional development of its employees and is already actively engaging in the collaborative spirit of the OpExChange.

With a mission to redefine the boundaries of CNC machining, RXI aims to deliver top-quality aerospace, space, medical, and military machined parts—all manufactured right here on Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

The outlook for RXI is undoubtedly bright.

About RX Industries
RX Industries is a leading CNC machining company dedicated to innovation, precision, and excellence. Rooted in a profound passion for engineering, we specialize in crafting high-end aerospace, space, medical and military machined parts. Our collaborative approach sets us apart, viewing challenges not as obstacles but as vital aspects of our pursuit of perfection. With a commitment to growth and quality, RX Industries aims to be the preferred supplier for key industrial players. Our vision, backed by our relentless pursuit of growth, places RX Industries at the forefront of the CNC machining industry. https://www.rxind.com/

About OpExChange
The OpExChange, sponsored by the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is a peer-to-peer network of manufacturers and distributors in South Carolina known for generating success for members through benchmarking and best practice sharing. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys. If your company is interested in participating in this collaborative effort to improve both the competitiveness of your operation and South Carolina, contact Mike Demos (Mike@OpExChange.com). More information and upcoming plant visits are available on the OpExChange website www.OpExChange.com.




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