Mitsubishi Lasers Help Rock Run Industries Grow as Just-in-Time Supplier to RV Industry

Being a just-in-time supplier for the RV industry leaves little margin for error. High quality and on-time delivery are essential, which is why Rock Run Industries, LLC uses Mitsubishi fiber lasers with automation to make RV and aluminum cabinet parts.

Rock Run Industries, based in the northern Indiana city of Millersburg, was founded by Amish entrepreneur Freeman “Fritz” Schlabach in 2007 to supply chassis parts and outside kitchen cabinetry to the RV industry.

Schlabach said fast-turnaround, on-time delivery of two weeks or less is critical to the company’s success.

“The reliability of the Mitsubishi lasers and automation without interruption is especially important to our business,” he said.

In addition to a manufacturing operation in Millersburg, Rock Run Industries has a 400,000-square-foot facility about 10 miles east in Topeka, Ind. Among the company’s 90 employees are four of Schlabach’s children: A daughter who operates a CNC tube bender, a son who works on the powder coat line, a son who heads up the new Aluminum Cabinet Division, and another son who is a special projects manager that knows how to run every piece of equipment at both plants and functions as a “swingman.”

“We live where we work and we work where we live,” he said. “This is a family business where all of our employees are like family.”

Rock Run initially purchased the Mitsubishi fiber lasers to make aluminum cabinets for a division of Rock Run Industries called Rock Run Cabinetry.

Because the lasers were so productive, Schlabach began using them to produce the bulk of its RV parts. Rock Run also uses the Mitsubishi lasers for on-site prototype design and production, with the goal of making RV parts simpler and more cost effective to produce.

“The RV business is a low-inventory industry where late parts can throw everything off,” he said. “When we added the Mitsubishi lasers with automation, we basically doubled our production of laser-blanked parts. We finally became a true lights-out operation because we can run the lasers unattended after hours.”

Schlabach said that service and support after the laser purchase is an integral part of the relationship with MC Machinery.

“I’ve been blown away how MC Machinery handles service,” he said. “They go above and beyond expectations and their service culture is miles ahead of the competition. The few times we’ve had issues, the Service Department was very knowledgeable about the equipment, and we were able to trouble shoot and fix the issues immediately over the phone.”

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