After more than twenty years in the extrusion die business, our founder Wayne Cockburn decided it was time to start his own business. Mid-South Extrusion Die began operations in September 1969 under his leadership. Our meager beginnings consisted of 10,000 square feet of manufacturing area and a grand total of three employees. One of these employees was Wayne's son, Terry. In 1972, Wayne's other son, Gary, joined the company making for a true family business.
After several years of rapid growth, we had the fortunate problem of having more work than we could handle. We expanded several times during the first few years and were still not keeping up with demand. To help alleviate this "good" problem, Central Extrusion Die began operations in August 1979 with Gary and two other employees. At that same time we changed our corporate name to Cockburn Enterprises with Mid-South and Central as divisions.
During the next twenty years both companies enjoyed additional growth, while maintaining the quality standards and services that our customers have come to expect and deserve. We now operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Our total manufacturing area is now over 65,000 square feet and our total employment is over 150. With this large production capacity we are able to provide fast delivery of quality tooling at competitive prices.
We have the capability to completely design and manufacture dies up to 42" in diameter. We produce dies to extrude aluminum, magnesium, and vinyl. However, the manufacturing of aluminum extrusion dies comprises approximately 98% of our business. We also manufacture various extrusion tooling such as dummy blocks, stems, horseshoes, pressure plates, rings, shear blades, etc.
All of our dies are designed utilizing the latest Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. Our designs are based on years of accumulated experience as well as feedback from our customers. We have experience in all aluminum and magnesium alloys including hard alloy aluminum. Very complex multi-void hollows of all sizes and shapes are common for us. The presses we design for range from 500-ton, two-inch billet to 14,000-ton, twenty-inch billet and every size in between. We also manufacture dies for indirect presses. Our CAD/CAM computer systems are networked together with our CNC machines, giving a seamless flow of information, precision, and repeatability.
We use the latest CNC technology as well as conventional machining techniques to manufacture our dies. All of our tool paths used on the CNC milling stations are programmed using the latest CAM software. Our production equipment includes CNC wire EDM machines, CNC sinkers, CNC machining centers, and CNC lathes, as well as manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, etc. We have complete heat treating and nitriding facilities.
Along with the latest technology in design and manufacture, we offer over thirty years of experience in the die making industry. Our reputation was built on the highest quality tooling, fast deliveries and competitive prices and we intend to keep it that way.
To provide a testament as to our durability, dedication and ability to service our customers and provide employment for our employees, we need only to relate the events of November 10, 1996. On this date, Central Extrusion Die was completely destroyed by fire. However, we maintained full employment without any loss time or wages and within a week we were back to full production. We remain proud of this accomplishment and thankful to all our employees and faithful customers that made it possible.
This company started as a family business and remains so today although Wayne Cockburn retired in 1990. We are very grateful for all the hard work and dedication our father gave to our company and the extrusion industry. Both of us are honored to continue the tradition and example set by our father.
Gary Cockburn & Terry Cockburn