Small Parts Manufacturing has been machining precise, tight tolerance metal parts since 1946. Over the past seven decades, our company has expanded from four screw machines to a large facility with dozens of CNC manufacturing equipment. From our beginnings in the late 40s to the integration of computerized control systems, all the way to our present day partnerships, Small Parts Manufacturing has a long, rich history in precision manufacturing.
The start of a multi-generational company
Merton ‘Rocky’ Rockney served as a Machine Operators Mate (MOMM3) in the Navy during WWII. Following his service for the Navy, Rocky used his experience to establish Small Parts Manufacturing Co. with just two Cleveland single spindle screw machines and two ACME four spindle screw machines.
Rocky and his team immediately set the standard for SPM, committing themselves to quality machining and personalized service to each customer. George Irwin and Max Rutzer joined the leadership team and together, within 25 years, the company had grown from just four screw machines to a facility housing a variety of spindle screw machines, threading equipment, surface finishing, and tooling design.
Howard Weaver eventually joined SPM in 1972, working in all parts of the company and joining the company’s leadership team alongside Jerry Harris, who joined the company in 1973 and assumed the Draftsman/Estimator role in 1976. They would continue to work under Rocky for several decades.
Rocky would continue to serve as president of Small Parts Manufacturing until 2003, just two years before his passing. His nearly sixty years of quality service and manufacturing experience laid the foundation for what SPM has become today.
Milestones and life-long partnerships
Thanks to Rocky’s hard work, Small Parts Manufacturing grew quickly, reaching its first major sales milestone on July 24, 1973 by making our first million-dollar year. We moved from our location on N Vancouver Ave. to the current location on NE MLK Jr. Blvd and continued to expand.
As SPM’s capabilities grew, we partnered with Freightliner Trucks in the 1950s, making various precision parts for them. Freightliner Trucks, now known as Daimler, is still one of our major customers today.
Daimler is not our only long-time partner. In 1983 SPM became a primary defense contract for FMC and would continue doing contract work for the Defense industry for over 20 years. Mark Rockney would also join the team this year, eventually stepping into the leading role in customer service for SPM.
Two years later, in 1985, SPM also formed another long partnership, building torque wrench parts for Stanley Proto. To this day, we continue to make high-quality components for Stanley Proto, now known as Black and Decker.
In 1992, SPM also started making rail car brake pins for the three largest rail-car manufacturers in North America. We continued to serve that industry until 2020. And, for the past two decades, SPM has been making precision components for the Medtronics Cardiovascular Group in Santa Rosa, CA, introducing our quality business to the medical industry. We found work in the Medical industry in 1998 and 1999 through a job shop show, which was the start of our partnership with Medtronics that we’ve continued through the present day.
Our most recent partnership is with Fox Racing in El Cajon, CA. We established an ongoing relationship with them in 2021, making parts for offroad suspension applications.
Expanding our technology
As our customer base expanded, so did our capabilities. In 1979, we acquired our first of two Eight (8) Spindle Wickman Screw Machines, which increased our production capacity in our Screw Machine department. Three years later, we also purchased our first EDM machine, a JAPAX Japt 4G to cut tools for our screw machines, and we acquired an AT&T 3B2, our first computer system.
The real development of our CNC manufacturing shop began in 1987. Late this year, we purchased our first computer numerically controlled, or CNC, machine, a Mazak SQT-15, a brand that we continue to use today. This very machine is still making quality parts for us today, holding .001” tolerance even after over 35 years of use.
Later, in 1988, we expanded on the CNC shop, adding a CADKey system as the new drafting platform for making shop drawings and assisting with programming our CNC machines. And two years later, we would acquire our first CNC Mill, A Takisawa VF2 model, to better support the needs of our trucking clients.
In 2003, SPM expanded even further to serve its wide-ranging clientele. We purchased two Traveling Column CNC Mills, a Mazak VTC-200C to mill larger components. In 2007, the Kinefac Kineroller Model MC-6 was added to our shop to produce large-diameter rolled threads for our customers as well.
We also would go on to add even more equipment the next year, including a new Mazak QTN200-MSY lathe, and a Mazak 510-C vertical milling machine to better serve our new customers in the medical industry.
2010 was the year that we really began a full integration of CAD/CAM work into our milling processes. That year we acquired a PC fusion platform for more complex CNC programing and quickly grew our CNC machining business into what it is today.
The Present Day
Today, SPM is run by Merton ‘Mert’ Rockney Jr., who became the owner and president of the company in November of 2003. We’ve recently updated our EDM technology with the addition of a new Mitsubishi FX-10 Wire EDM in 2013 to make screw machine tools for our other equipment and continue to upgrade our capabilities with the latest technology. Our customer base has expanded to companies in a variety of industries–from Aerospace to Racing to Trucking and much more.
SPM has grown exponentially over the past seventy-five years. With more than 200 years of combined experience and a foundation in quality and precision, SPM is proud to serve our customers with the best manufacturing around.