Basic Machinery Company: Industrial Equipment for International Applications

Bill and Harold Milholen founded Basic Machinery Company (BMC) in 1975. The small basement-based business began as an equipment sales representative agency strictly focused on the national brick and aggregate industry, with no intention of ever manufacturing. Two years after starting the company – as fate would have it – opportunities were presented and the team began manufacturing products.

BMC has grown and diversified since. In the mid-1980s, faced with economic challenges similar to those of today, the company underwent expansion to broaden BMC’s existing product line and client base. At that time, the BMC team’s general industrial equipment division was born. BMC’s general industrial equipment division continues to meet the demands of other industries by utilizing similar machinery and processes as the brick industry.

“We’re still a family business,” says Barry Milholen, Harold’s son and president of BMC. “The second generation, of both company founders, are very involved with the day-to-day operations. We are proud to continue this family-based endeavor, and we have survived because of our diversification. The recent recession has hit many manufacturers hard, especially those involved in heavy industry and construction.”

Diversified Operations

“We have a broad range of machinery and design work, and we supply equipment to the bulk material handling industry, as well as the brick industry,” Barry continues. “We also have an AISC certified structural steel fabrication facility. We have a pretty broad niche in equipment manufacturing. Our diverse range of capabilities and equipment allows us to provide our clients with complete systems all the way from the concept design to the commissioning of the project.”

BMC currently employs 45 people at a single production site in Siler City, N.C. “We have supplied machinery to many companies around the world,” explains Barry. “Nearly everything is performed in-house for sales, design, fabrication and installation. Working closely with clients, our staff designs the equipment to meet the customer's unique specifications. Throughout the process, plant engineers inspect all machinery to ensure the product meets criteria compliance while simultaneously reducing waste. We do a lot of equipment testing for function and safety and our employees chart progress through an integrated operating system before we ship it out to our customers.”

Barry is proud to note the team has brought BMC continued success. “Our success has been based on the premise of producing high-quality products and providing excellent customer service through our experienced employees,” he details. “Our services do not end at commissioning.”

The team’s vast capabilities also enhance the company’s success. “BMC also provides field service personnel for assisting our customers with their maintenance or installation needs,” Barry says. “We also offer replacement parts and consumable goods to further service our customer base.”

High-performance Products

BMC has been supplying machinery to the brick industry for nearly four decades. “The team builds production and processing equipment, built heavy duty and tough to perform for many years,” says Barry. These high-capacity machines offer state-of-the-art automatic controls, as well as robotic automation. With manufacturers increasingly focused on streamlining, automation can boost production without increasing labor costs. The team focuses on unique integrated designs and processing systems that offer safety and ease of operation.

Noting the similarities between the machines utilized by the brick industry and by other bulk materials handlers and processes, BMC has branched out to offer industrial equipment to other markets. “Products include all types of bulk materials handling and equipment and conveyors that process product as required by our customers,” says Barry.

As with the company’s automatic brick handling equipment, some of the machinery can be designed with a wide range of features from manual to entirely robotic. All machines are custom-designed to customer requirements, ensuring BMC can provide the right equipment for any project.

BMC has capitalized on current market demands and targeted the recent growth of the biomass and fracking sand industries to further diversify. One example of BMC’s diversification is the integration of automatic bulk material storage and reclaim system in to such industries. Drawing on the team’s experience from processed clay storage, BMC has been able to provide a reliable system for the storage and feed of raw and processed material to multiple other industries. “Our reclaimer is popular due to the low labor and low maintenance expense of the system, and the fact that it is competitively priced,” Barry notes.

Despite the country’s recent economic hardships, BMC’s diverse line of products and services are keeping the business moving forward. “We’re hoping that as the construction industry begins to improve we will see an increase of new machinery requirements from the brick manufacturers,” Barry says. “We do have quite a few projects in the works that continue to capitalize on our diversification, but we are constantly looking for new opportunities. Lately, we have tried to be more creative with new equipment designs and reach out to new markets. Like many other companies, we have been focused on survival.”

Barry remains hopeful, but the economy has not been very promising for manufacturers. “Every time we think the economy is starting to turn around we get another reality check,” he explains. The shutting down of coal powered power plants has affected our business somewhat, and increased Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] regulations are making it more difficult for these companies to survive.”

BMC has a major advantage in the market, which is 38 years of experience and diversification. Additionally, the majority of the company’s employees have been with the business for over 18 years. Regardless of market conditions, BMC intends to continue to push forward, embracing the company’s reputation as a strong family business. As the economy slowly recovers, Basic Machinery Company is poised to continue offering high-quality, durable machinery to clients.