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Learn About Accraline, Inc.

Located in Bremen, IN Accraline, Inc. is run by second-generation owner Cris Cormican. We still make components, tools and fixtures, but our customers have become much bigger companies than we served in our early years. The very first customers were other machine shops in the region, but Accraline grew in capability and capacity over the years to make components for hundreds of customers, including U.S. companies such as Caterpillar, General Electric, and overseas customers.

accraline inc

Filling a Niche

“Dad and his business partner worked for the local shops that needed larger parts built because their machines could handle larger parts than the average shop. They found a way to fill a niche or gap,” says Cris Cormican, general manager. “It’s like hammers. Everyone has a hammer, but only 1 out of 10 has a sledgehammer in the drawer. They kept expanding the shop so they could handle bigger and bigger capacities.”

Cris and his brother literally grew up learning the business. Cormican remembers heading to the machine shop before dawn when he was in elementary school to help his dad dig holes to pour the foundation so they could install the boring mill.

He used to sleep on the 40-minute drive from South Bend to Bremen, because, really, how many 9-year-olds would look forward to that kind of work on a Saturday morning? But everyone helped out in this family-run business. Cormican remembers his mom assisting with the books by hand and hanging purchase orders on a board nailed to a wall. Now, of course, that’s done using computers.

“My first real job was running a drill press for a penny a hole. Looking back, that was the best education a person could ask for,” says Cormican, who later attended Franklin College pursuing a degree in business management.

Growth Over Decades

From its roots in a 3,000-square-foot downtown storefront, Accraline moved and expanded in 1974 to a building double that size in an industrial park on West Bike Street that offered more land for future physical expansions. Cormican says the company expanded about every 10 years through the 1980s, which was the decade Cris and Mark joined the company. “We added on for more machinery, more space, more volume. And over time we became a contract tool shop,” Cormican says.

The business purchased its first computer numerical control machine in 1980, but Accraline continues to use manual machines for many of its custom orders. Some of those manual machines have been refurbished in-house many times by the 20 journeymen tool-and-die makers employed by the company, Cormican says.

U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for Accraline in the 1990s, during which time the Cormican family took complete control of the company. The business complex now comprises about 50,000 square feet in three separate buildings, where the company makes tools, fixtures and components for several hundred customers.

Your Core: They key to staying in business

“The bottom line of staying in business is your core. When people have heard about you, worked with you for 20 years, and they feel good about you doing a good job, that’s what keeps you going,” Cormican says. “Then it takes handing it down to the second generation.”

“You have to have someone who feels the same way you do about the business and won’t take it in a different direction. I remember my dad calling me up and asking me if I wanted to come work for him. You could say he needed me, and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Cormican says. “There’s a very old saying that goes, ‘You do what you do best.’ Mark and I knew what formula had worked for them.”

Accraline ramped up in 2008 to be able to produce more components for more customers.

Some of the company’s one-of-a-kind, custom-built parts include the tools and fixtures for handling gas power-generated turbines that are larger than locomotive trains. Simple parts can take five minutes to build; complex parts can take five months. “We’ve built and load-tested lift fixtures to handle 120,000-pound turbine parts,” says Cormican, who also describes the recent completion of a 28,000-pound forging press component. “Different shops have different specialties, and the variety of parts is so overwhelming.”