Author Topic: Micro Engineering is for sale…  (Read 4047 times)

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Missaberoad

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2021, 06:51:42 PM »
0
Does anyone else make bulk rail? Or is ME the only show in town?
Makes me wish I could cash my pension in!  :D
Ryan in Alberta

wazzou

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2021, 07:05:51 PM »
0
Does anyone else make bulk rail? Or is ME the only show in town?
Makes me wish I could cash my pension in!  :D


I believe they’re it which is why upthread, I suggested FastTracks would be a natural candidate, particularly due to their reliability on the product being available.
Bryan

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peteski

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2021, 08:01:57 PM »
0
Since this is a multi-scale announcement, Product Discussion section would be better fit for this thread.
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muktown128

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale%u2026
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2021, 10:17:55 PM »
+1
Whoever does buy the company has to do some micro engineering on the turnouts, N Scale in particular.   The existing product is old school and the marketplace has advanced, at least in HO.   
It is a great opportunity for somebody to establish a state of the art track business in the United States.
Charlie Vlk

How about expanding the selection of turnouts beyond #6 and re-tooling the code 40 and code 55 flex track to be more like the old Railcraft track with finer spike detail (maybe embed the rails like Peco to get the finer spike details)?

MetroRedLine

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2021, 11:13:44 PM »
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Can 500 of us get together and pitch in $1,000 each?
Under the streets of Los Angeles

MK

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2021, 11:29:45 PM »
+1
Then which one of the 500 runs the joint?  (The one with the most up votes?  :) )

C855B

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2021, 11:56:17 PM »
+2
$500,000 is the claimed value of just the tooling. Typically a business like this sells for ~30% of its annual gross revenue plus fixed assets like the tooling, minus any liabilities (loans) underwritten by the business assets and are not personal loans to the proprietor(s).

Tooling is the "gotcha". They may well have spent $500K on tooling - molds and dies are expensive - but outside of manufacturing the specific product it's so much scrap. That's why they have to find somebody in the MRR trade willing to take on the product line if they're expecting to retire on the proceeds of the sale. From the videos I've seen the injection molding machines are pretty old and some of the processes need more manual assistance than I'd expect in a modern manufacturing facility. I also know from firsthand experience the C55 wooden tie molds are wearing out, and are in need of replacement soon. Some of the girder bridge molds have worn out and are not slated for replacement at the moment.

IF it were me, I'd invest in modular molding equipment to streamline turnout production for a broader selection of competitive sizes in all the supported scales, and freshen some of the molds for "staple" product lines like flex and bridge bits.

ME is local to... me. Not "walk to" local, but commute distance. It is actually conceivable I could lease a reasonable building for way less money than they pay in Fenton, in our light industrial zone, then move the production operation to our town. But the buyout can't be for $500K or anything close, plus it would be a challenge to rebuild production staff here because we've been experiencing a quality worker shortage since way before the pandemic.

Having said all that, I'm retired and I want to stay retired. I have a good idea of what it would take to assume ME's business operations, but that needs to be taken on by somebody 20 years younger than I.

nkalanaga

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2021, 12:21:55 AM »
+2
(Semi-serious):  A MicroTrains-Kadee joint venture?  They certainly have the manufacturing experience, they have the customer base, the customers' trust, and their trucks need good track to run on.

I doubt that they'd want to run the company under either name, but between them they should be able to find the people, in house or outside, to make it successful.
N Kalanaga
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Dave V

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2021, 12:32:59 AM »
+1
Then which one of the 500 runs the joint?  (The one with the most up votes?  :) )

I don't want another leadership job, thank you!   :D

Jim Costello

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2021, 12:42:06 AM »
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I also thought that a MTL-Kadee venture would be a good way forward.  I spoke to Bob Rands at the 1996 Long Beach convention and it was  mooted there
that a full range of Code 55 turnouts was being considered to match the popular #6 turnout that was on the market.
Some 15 years later I queried them on the #8's and was told that dies were made and that they would be available within 6 months...10 years later we
are still to see them. I went with a Fastracks jig and am totally satisfied.
I believe the tooling on some of their products are worn out and need to be modernised to current standards etc , hence a  MTL-Kadee would be a good choice.

Jim
Modelling the NH down under

PJPickard

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2021, 06:18:19 AM »
0
No one has mentioned all their bridges...they have some nice stuff. I tried to get some months ago and was told they were a few months out.

jereising

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2021, 09:31:46 AM »
0
The potential for ME is so great that if there IS a modeler with cash to spare (and the necessary talent to helm it) it would be a no brainer.  Those who are on the "bring manufacturing back to the US" bandwagon hopefully are taking note.  Molds can be refurbished/rebuilt.  MTL has shown it can be done - and done well.  What a great opportunity!  Like Mike says though, I want to stay retired. 
Jim Reising
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rodsup9000

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2021, 11:34:05 AM »
0
   I know for a fact that the N scale wood tie flex track dies are almost wore out. The last order I got had lot of flashing on some of the ties.
For those of you that don't know the process that ME uses to make the flex, it takes 4,9 inch tie strips per 3 foot piece of flex. This is why the molds wear out so fast.

 Here is a video of the process


« Last Edit: November 08, 2021, 11:53:38 AM by rodsup9000 »
Rodney

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ncbqguy

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2021, 11:48:53 AM »
+4
I pretty much agree with all the observations made so far.
The big problem is you have to get somebody that has the passion for creating this product line....and the skills to set it up and guide it.
Money alone will not make it go....at least very far.   Nor will just a deep interest in the product.  While both are essential business and management skills are critical.
Tooling, injection molding, die casting, and production factors have changed so much that buying a heritage company that perhaps has not constantly been updated is difficult.  Location is also important to have reasonable business, labor and real estate cost environments.
That being said, track is a product essential to our Hobby of Model Railroading and it should be brought back to domestic production.  Supply chain issues have been a problem long before the current Wuhan crisis.   Even before the Chinese factories issue of a few years ago we had supply issues from Europe going back decades.  These problems are not going to go away and are not likely to improve.
Track production is comparatively not a huge labor intensive process.  It doesn’t require the level and/or number of skilled workers that painting & printing and assembly of rolling stock requires.  It is doable here but not simple as proven by Micro Engineering.
It really should be a separate company or stand alone division as the business is quite different in nature from companies engaged in rolling stock manufacturing or import.
We should thank the folks at Micro Engineering for their years of providing track products and wish them well in finding a buyer so they can enjoy a well deserved retirement!
Charlie Vlk
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ednadolski

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Re: Micro Engineering is for sale…
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2021, 02:54:03 PM »
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I know for a fact that the N scale wood tie flex track dies are almost wore out.

What then would be the point of anyone spending $500k on tooling that is already worn out or nearing the end of its useful life?

Seems any serious person should well consider starting from scratch anyways (tho that hardly seems likely).

Ed