New Mill Sparks Old Memories

Central States Industrial’s new horizontal boring mill is large, green, and gleaming. It represents a new era in CSI history.

When the operator of the mill, John Kuenzel, was told the new machine was beautiful, he responded, “Thank you.” One gets the impression that John is proud of the time he has spent working with the machine. A sign from the old mill is pinned to his cart, a reminder of life and work at CSI in the last two decades.

The old Bullard horizontal boring mill was purchased in 1998. Before the purchase, CSI did not have a boring mill. The machining of large panels had to be outsourced to local shops around Springfield. This made it difficult to meet customer needs.

In response to this pain point, Jim Cook, founder of CSI, researched and discovered a mill in Tulsa, OK that had been purchased by American Airlines in 1965. The airline ran the mill for many years, before deciding to sell it to a local broker. Jim decided to purchase the machine from the broker and Kent Fuzzell began working on getting the machine reassembled and running. The process took several weeks, but Kent’s hard work paid off. The machine ran reliably for nearly twenty years, until August 2016, when it finally gave out.

CSI employees quickly began working to find a replacement and discovered a new mill in Michigan. Jack Harden and Rob Ross flew up and decided to purchase the 1980 Normura horizontal boring mill. Rob disassembled it himself, by hand, so he could see how to put the mill together correctly. The next morning, the mill was transported to CSI. Eight men moved the twenty-nine thousand pound mill table to its position in the back of the shop. The mill was leveled, wired, and powered in two days.

The Nomura mill is currently manufacturing at a higher capacity than the old mill.

The controls are more user-friendly and accessible, saving time in operations. The new mill works quieter, conserving the calming, productive atmosphere of the shop. The new mill has the ability to work on panels as large as 72x54 inches without accommodation, increasing accuracy and speed. The mill works more efficiently, saving energy and decreasing CSI’s environmental footprint.

This endeavor was successful because it was executed by people who know how important determination and diligence are in any business matter. The new mill stands as a reminder what can be accomplished with a little grit, tenacity, and talent.


John Kunzel stands with the sign of the old boring mill attached to his cart.