Developing Solutions for
Cutting and Conveying
Coal Leader: We’re here with Bob Stenger who is President and CEO of Cincinnati Mine Machinery Company. Bob we appreciate you talking to readers of Coal Leader. Could you start please if you would by giving us a bit about the history of the company?
Bob Stenger: Yes, Bill I am pleased to be here as well. Thank you. The company was started in 1920. My grandfather purchased the company several years later in 1924. There were five or six employees at that time. He had started a commercial heat-treating firm, The Queen City Steel Treating Company, in 1922 and this was a compliment to that business. The company’s main product line was cutter bars and chains. We were the first company to produce a completely forged cutter chain. The business grew and in the early 30’s we started doing business in South Africa. We expanded into Australia as well as Canada in the early 50’s and today we enjoy business in many other parts of the world. We continue to service coal, potash, gypsum, trona and salt mines primarily.
Coal Leader: And you yourself Bob have been serving the coal industry for a long time. How did your career start?
Bob Stenger: I come from a family of ten kids. When we were younger, we all grew up loading and unloading furnaces at the heat-treating plant. I went into the Coast Guard after my freshman year of college and when I came out, my dad approached me about going to work at Cincinnati Mine since I had two older brothers at Queen City. I started there in May of 1972. I started out running drill presses and milling machines. I worked as a foreman for several years and was then responsible for installing our first computer. I have been president for 13 years.
Coal Leader: You referred earlier to some of the early products of the company. Tell us about the product range today?
Bob Stenger: We still are producing cutter bars and chains. Primarily they are being used in the salt mines but in South Africa there is still a good market. Our main product line today is the conveyor chain and footshafts and sprockets for the continuous miners. Many of the OEM’s use this chain as standard on their miners. We also manufacture crawler chains and bit blocks for continuous miner drums as well as trim chains, clearance chains for the miners and for the boring machines that are used up in Canada.
We just started marketing a turbine booster pump “designed and manufactured by a coal miner for coal miners”. It’s designed to deliver constant pressure and generate more pumping power for the water sprays. It can operate efficiently from over a mile from the face. There are about 50 running both on continuous miners as well as in longwall applications. There is minimal maintenance to these and they are doing a great job.
Coal Leader: I know that service is very important to you and your company.
Bob Stenger: Bill, we are a small company. We have a little niche market and service is really something that we have to provide our customers. I think we do an excellent job of that. We have 55 employees all dedicated to serving our customers. When our customers have a problem we are there, underground, working with them to correct the problem. Our focus is cutting and conveying.
Coal Leader: Tell us about your research and development, number of engineers, and some of the things you are doing at the moment Bob?
Bob Stenger: We’ve got four engineers on staff. The research and development really is what enabled the company to grow to where it is today. We have probably 30 patents out in the field in the mining industry. We work very closely with our customers to develop products that are designed for safety, productivity, longevity and ease of use. We currently have a new bit lug that we have patented as well as two new conveyor chains. One is an offshoot of our current chain, the process for manufacturing has changed, which we patented, as well as a completely new conveyor chain that are both being tested at this time.
Coal Leader: Talking about manufacturing, tell us about your manufacturing facilities?
Bob Stenger: We have a facility in Cincinnati. It’s about 30,000 square feet. Most of our manufacturing and main product lines are run on CNC pieces of equipment which provide us with consistent, quality products. Our people believe in continuous improvement. Through their efforts we have completely revamped the factory floor in the past several years and it continues to change. We’ve got a staff of workers that probably average about 28 years with the company, so it is a very loyal staff. We have spent the last several years working very hard on manufacturing efficiency, to eliminate waste in the process and also ensuring the quality of our products.
Coal Leader: What place does quality in fact play at Cincinnati Mine Machinery?
Bob Stenger: Bill, it starts with the forgings that we purchase. The steel is metallurgically tested before we even forge our parts. We continue to invest in CNC equipment as well as other technology to help ensure a consistent quality part. Our people are responsible for every piece that comes off their machine. The heat-treating process that we use, as I said, is from a sister company of ours so we actually do the hardness testing and quality checking as well. Our goal is to provide the best product available, every time.
Coal Leader: Since you spend a great deal of your time serving the coal industry, what do you think is the future of coal?
Bob Stenger: Bill, I think that coal is going to be an important part of America’s energy policy for many years. It’s reliable. It’s available. With the clean coal technology that is being developed today, it is certainly going to be much more environmentally friendly as well. I think we’ll continue to see coal as a major resource for our energy needs. Now if we can just get Congress to pass the energy bill, which coal is a major part, we’ll be OK.
Coal Leader: Well Bob thank you very much for talking to us and may we take the opportunity of wishing both you and Cincinnati Mining Machinery every success in the future.
Bob Stenger: Thank you Bill. I appreciate the opportunity. Good luck to you with Coal Leader as well. It’s an excellent paper and my people enjoy reading it. cl
This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws. The article may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior permission of Coal Leader, Inc. Copyright 2004, Coal Leader, Inc. All rights reserved.