What do you call one of the largest broaching machines west of the Mississippi river? Well, we call it "Broachzilla," and it resides at our Clackamas, Oregon manufacturing facility. So what exactly is a broaching machine (aka a "broach")?
According to Merriam-Webster.com, a broach is "a cutting tool for removing material from metal or plastic to shape an outside surface or a hole." At Warn Industries, we use a variety of different broaches to cut the center section (or inside diameter) of our gears for use in our winches. However, no broach is bigger than Broachzilla.
The fundamentals of broaching are simple. In our case, a metal ring is inserted into the machine. The broach--the large toothed metal cutting tool pictured above and highlighted to show the actual cutting bit--is hydraulically forced through the ring's center. This action cuts away at the inside diameter of the ring, leaving precisely cut teeth.
Here's a video of Broachzilla in action from when Pirate 4x4 visited Warn Industries. It gives a better idea of how the broaching process works.
Broachzilla is as large as its name suggests, although these pictures don't do it justice. At around 20 ft. tall, it towers over the other machines at the facility, and its cutting tools are a few feet in length. When called into action, the floor around Broachzilla shakes, and there's a low rapid clunking noise as the metal is removed from the ring's center, and the perfectly cut teeth are created. The force this machine imparts is truly something that can only be appreciated in person.
Make no mistake about it, Broachzilla is truly a manufacturing monster, and it plays a vital role at Warn.