Mike Bowe and his family are well known in Mount Calvary, a small farming town located just outside of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Most of the local farmers stop by Mike’s fabrications shop, Bowe’s Pit Stop, for any type of vehicle or machine repair work that includes welding, cutting, or custom fabrication and design. Mike opened the doors to the Pit Stop in 2001 but he already had been running an implement business with his father since 1980. Although they started out small, they gradually added equipment to their shop such as lathes, milling machines, a brake press, shears, benders, and most recently, a CNC plasma table.
Today, Bowe’s Pit Stop has a variety of customers that are not in the farming industry. Thanks to their 5’x10′ EZ Cut CNC plasma system, their new customers include mechanical contractors and large food service companies.
“Two years ago my youngest son, Andy, who works for me said we should get a CNC plasma table,” Mike explained about their shopping experience. “It was on a Sunday at about 3 p.m. in the afternoon when I found EZ Cut’s phone number. So, I called them and the guy answered.” Mike was very impressed when EZ Cut CNC’s Steve Dinsmore picked up the phone on a weekend to answer all of Mike’s questions. Ultimately, this accessibility and customer service was Mike’s main reason for choosing EZ Cut CNC.
Bill Bowe, Mike’s son and the plasma table operator, talked to us about his experience when the system first arrived. “I was pretty scared of it at first but it only took me a week until I was comfortable using it,” Bill told us. “I’m not very good with computers so if I can use it, your grandma can use it.”
Bill also showed us a couple products that they have designed and keep in inventory for sale. “We make stone buckets now. I throw on a sheet of steel, 15 minutes later the bucket is cut out. And the best part is I can walk away and do something else.” He pulled up the DXF files for their Bowe Built stone buckets and explained how he nested the parts to be cut on one sheet of steel. They also make a five-point sturgeon spear called the Bowe’s Eye, which is a favorite among local fisherman.
Bowe’s Pit Stop has owned their 5’x10′ EZ Cut CNC down-draft table with a Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster A120 plasma cutter for almost two years but decided to upgrade in June of 2013. Because they wanted to cut thicker material with improved cut quality, they chose a Thermal Dynamics Auto-Cut 200 plasma cutter with a 5’x10′ water table. They now no longer need their exhaust system because of the water table, which controls dust and smoke when cutting.
Now that they have an upgraded system with more cutting capabilities, the Pit Stop expects to see their business grow even more. Over the past two years, Mike has added twelve new customers and seen a considerable increase in the amount of steel going through the shop. “We’re almost at about 10,000 lbs of steel every month and it’s growing every day.”
Bill has also noticed that their EZ Cut CNC system leaves a lasting impression with customers. “A lot of customers have never seen anything like this so they are just floored by it. So they go and tell their buddies and that brings a lot more work in the door.” But, as Bill explained to us, the real value is in the quality of the parts they are cutting for their customers. “We can cut out plates, rings, and other parts that they need. We can do special orders and stuff that you just can’t go and buy. And, before we wouldn’t have them as customers.”