July 12, 2017

Center Machine ‘makes it happen’

By Annette Tait

There is a beehive of activity behind the doors of the plain steel building, it’s typeface sign stating simply “Center Machine Shop.” The original building houses the CNC -- computerized numerical control -- mill, various pieces of large equipment, and a fertilizer trailer getting a new hitch fabricated. In the new building are a dozer, in for modifications, a tractor in to have worn parts reinforced and reworked to original specifications, and a semi-trailer in need of suspension work. And the job board in the entryway lists several dozen more projects either in work or on the horizon.
“I think the easier question would be ‘what don’t we work on?’” Welder/Fabricator Chuck LeFleur said, smiling.
Center Machine Inc. does a little bit of everything, working on agriculture equipment, projects for coal mines, and mechanical work. Owner Rick Henke and his employees start from whatever customers bring in -- equipment that needs repairs or alterations, blueprints, worn out items that need to be replaced, and sometimes even just ideas or rough drawings on napkins or scraps of paper. And, whatever it is, Center Machine makes it happen.
“That’s what Todd [Bornemann] used to tell me,” said Welder/Fabricator Jeff Lennie. “He’d say, ‘Here’s what the customer wants, all the things he wants it to do. Here’s the pile of steel -- make this happen.’ As far as I know, he was always happy with what I came up with.”

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