My behind-the-scenes tour on the shop floor of Baker Industries began and ended with its Emco Mecof PowerMill, one of the biggest five-axis machining centers in the United States. The tour also shed light on the company’s highly aggressive approach to new equipment purchases. The Emco Mecof PowerMill represents a $3.4 million investment by Baker Industries to expand its capacity to serve OEM and Tier-One customers’ largest machining projects, typically for the aerospace and automotive sectors. The entire installation took more than two years. Installation of the PowerMill began with the removal of 1.2 million pounds of concrete and earth to excavate this 45-by-75-by-7-foot pit. Each truckload of the nearly 2 million pounds of crushed stone and concrete had to be individually sampled by inspectors to ensure it was the right consistency — an extra precaution for a reinforced foundation that has to remain stable beneath an overhead gantry that alone weighs more than 100,000 pounds. The PowerMill’s table has a load capacity of 2.6 million pounds. Four different interchangeable cutting heads powered by spindle motors that reach up to 18,000 rpm enable the machine to handle operations...