Before Mitee-Bite Products LLC puts its name on any product, the company ensures it offers customers more functionality than expected.
In machining, getting a grip matters — and getting the right grip can multiply productivity. At New Hampshire-based Mitee-Bite Products LLC, the company supplies workholding solutions and other products and services to optimize machining centers in many industries, including medical, aerospace and automotive. By letting machines work harder and longer, machinists are able to run additional machines or setups, reducing labor costs and pushing more product to market, faster.
The company was founded in 1986 by Maurice Bishop, who ran a small job shop and needed low-profile clampings. That’s where the original fixture-clamp was born. Bishop started selling his solutions with a one-page sales flier. Now, Mitee-Bite carries a 40-page catalog and sells worldwide through master distributors, National Sales Manager Mike McCarthy says.
“Mitee-Bite is known as a high-quality, low-profile, high-density workholding for the machine tool industry,” he says.
The low profile indicates it works low on the product, allowing access to the surfaces of the product by machine. High-density means, with limited space requirements, Mitee-Bite products offer the same holding force as other products that take more space.
“What we emphasize is that you want to maximize the number of work pieces on your table,” McCarthy says. “We look at the machine table as being a piece of real estate.”
Often, a shop will have a 40-by-20-inch table and it has two vices on the machine, holding just two pieces, McCarthy says.
“If you’re doing a production job — say 50 pieces — that means the machine has to stop 25 times to load and unload the work piece,” he says.
“What our products help customers do is to put more product on the machine table so they can increase the machine cycles. That allows your operator to be doing in-process inspection, possibly even running another work piece on another machine.
“Our thought is the machine should never be waiting for an operator,” McCarthy adds. “Then you can get cycles into the hour or half-hour time frame. That allows your operator a lot of versatility.”
That original fixture clamp still is an important tool in the industry — it’s low profile and high holding-force make it
invaluable — but Mitee-Bite has expanded strategically, developing new products or acquiring others, General Manager David Bishop says.
Its acquisition of Pitbull Clamp Co. Inc, one of the strongest low-profile clamps on the market, is one example.
“Cathy and Steve Phillips (of Phillips Precision Inc.) are great people and innovators,” Bishop says. “They have the same mindset regarding providing methods to simplify and enhance productivity in machine shops.”
Mitee-Bite added Pitbull Clamps to its offerings years ago.
“It takes time to introduce new products to the market, and having an established network with a brand customers trust can speed up the process,” Bishop says. “However, it doesn’t happen overnight. Cathy and Steve always have something going on and they wanted to fund other endeavors, so we reached an agreement that made sense for both of us.
“This is something we do frequently with inventors who have a good product that helps customers,” Bishop adds.
Winning with Customer Service
Though its products have the capacity to improve machining efficiency, application is key.
That’s where Mitee-Bite’s reputation for customer service makes the difference between a one-time customer and a lifetime customer.
“We treat every customer like they are a Fortune 500 company and stand behind every product we sell,” Bishop says.
When a customer makes an inquiry, Mitee- Bite goes a step further to make sure the product is the best solution, McCarthy says.
Application photos and 3-D CAD models give customers an understanding of how a product is going to work. If a customer has concerns, samples are provided to build a test fixture to prove out design prior to building production fixtures.
“That is just doing business,” McCarthy says. “In addition to that level one support, we have a complete CAD engineering department, which can provide service based on your needs.
“We would take customers product and design the fixture around it,” McCarthy adds. “We provide the total solution ready for the customer to build the fixture, based on our drawings.”
Mitee-Bite also offers turnkey solutions, where a customer can outline what they need to have machined.
“Mitee-Bite can provide the entire fixture base and fixture,” McCarthy says.
The fixture and base would be designed and manufactured at the Mitee-Bite facility and sent complete to the customer, and it’s those extra services that make an impact.
“We pay attention to detail,” McCarthy says. “We’re a company who cares about what we do.”
The company now also produces training videos using CAD with voiceover, using Solid- Works and GoToMeeting, providing customers with visual interactive clamping recommendations, Bishop says. That was a result of Mitee-Bite engineer Tim Krafton’s suggestion for a better training tool, now being incorporated on the company’s website, along with an “ask an engineer” button.
“Being customer-driven, we are constantly thinking of tools to better serve the end-users,” Bishop says.
Reaching the Future
Mitee-Bite sells directly to technical institutes to help shape the next generation of professionals. That move has positioned Mitee-Bite to be part of NASCAR’s school of machining, thanks to a recent partnership with Roush Yates Engines, Bishop says.
Roush Yates provides the Ford Power Plants for NASCAR and GT race cars.
“Again, we are working with an innovative company who has partnered up with Universal Technical Institute developing a school of machining to be held at the Roush Yates facility,” Bishop says. “Having a conference call with Todd English (Roush Yates Engines general manager) and John Dodson (vice president of NASCAR) was fantastic, discussing how we can build an accredited curriculum that will help fill the skill gap with qualified operators and machinist.”
The curriculum would aim to help graduates compete on a global playing field upon completion.
Being Part of the Solution
Contributing to the profession — and the New England town where Mitee-Bite is headquartered — is part of the company’s culture.
The company makes charitable donations to over 20 organizations, from helping local churches and food pantries to providing presents and food during the holidays to donating to funds for law enforcement and college precision racing teams. Mitee-Bite also supports local Special Olympics competitions, summer programs for kids as well as local sports teams. Giving back is a Mitee-Bite priority, Bishop says.
The company also contributes to Pelotonia, which has raised over $85 million in cancer research.
And creating a culture where employees feel valued has been another part of Mitee-Bite’s success, Bishop adds.
“It takes a team effort to last and grow in any business,” he says. “Surround yourself with great people, people you can trust to get the job done ‘when nobody is watching’ so you can focus on your job and not putting out fires.
“Inspiring creativity and providing the tools to allow any shop to improve productivity and fill empty parking lots is our goal. Innovation is just part of the process,” Bishop adds.