Our vision is to design and build the best tube end forming equipment in the world. We are an innovator, core problem solver and a strong partner. As our customer, we strive to understand your processes and problems. You will receive reliable machines and superior quality parts at a competitive price. Our work is not done until you succeed. What sets us apart?
We design and build all of our own equipment from standard products to custom products with automated systems.
Whether we’re building a tube deburring, end-forming or cutoff machine, it will be customized, not one-size-fits-all!
We love a challenge
Complex projects bring out the best in our team of experts!
We help increase efficiency that results in cost-saving opportunities.
We show integrity in every action.
You can count on our team to lead you to success.
Proto-1 focuses on building long-term partnerships.
We have a dedicated in-house project management team to help ensure on-time delivery.
Founded in 1997 in a small town in Wisconsin, Proto-1 began as a machine shop specializing in creating safe and efficient equipment to deburr tube and pipe. The result was the creation of our patented Roto-D-Bur® head. We didn’t stop there.
Company founders John and Valerie Schwochert recognized and responded to customer demand for other types of tube finishing equipment in the tube and pipe industry. Proto-1 quickly evolved into an industry leader building on our original deburring equipment to offer rotary tube cutoff, customization, cell integration, robotics, rotary tube end forming, jigs, fixtures, sizing, notching and progressive ram end-forming equipment.
Today Proto-1 proudly manufactures tube forming solutions for a diverse customer base from family-run manufacturers to multi-national companies. Proto-1 has a strong history of serving various markets such as automotive, heavy truck, aerospace, military, recreation, gas, agriculture, hydraulics, furniture, food, heating/cooling, and water/energy. One thing hasn’t changed: our focus on giving our customers the best service, support and solutions. This starts with building the most versatile, safe and efficient equipment in the tube and pipe industry.
Quote from John:
“Our specialty is making the impossible possible, assisting our customers with difficult parts that no one wants to do or thinks can’t be done, and the ability to adapt and change quickly. Our goal is to be the leader in the tube forming industry – not the follower.” – John Schwochert, Owner and Founder
Opening in 1997, Proto-1 was founded by John and Valerie Schwochert. The company first started as a tool & die shop. John had the vision of turning ideas into reality. Proto-1 would soon evolve with the introduction of its first invention.
With the success of the Roto-D-Bur® Head, Proto-1 needed to expand their manufacturing capacity. In 1998, Proto-1 built its new headquearters in Winneconne, WI. This building is still part of the current headquarters today. This increased Proto-1’s manufaturing capacity from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet.
With the new facility came additional operating space. in 1999, Proto-1 invested in new heat treating equipment. Proto-1 has since heat treated the majority of its components that make up its end forming equipment and tooling. Having this capability has allowed Proto-1 to reduce lead times and cost for its customers.
In 2000, Proto-1 expanded on its deburring capabilities with the intro of the RDM-200. This machine allowed companies to easily debur tube and pipe in a matter of seconds with Proto-1’s Roto-D-Bur® Heads.
In 2002, Proto-1 added to its rotary end forming capabilities with the development of the CAM-2.5. This single offset CAM machine has the ability to form tube and pipe as small as 1/2 an inch in diameter.
In 2004, Proto-1 added progressive RAM end forming to its RAM machines. This ability allowed Proto-1 to manufacture a higher complexity of end forming applications with end forms requiring multiple stages, or hits.
In 2006, the RFM (Rotary End Forming Machine) went through a complete design overhaul. With the new design in place, the RFM-2006 was internally stronger than its precursor. This added integrity increased the overall machine longevity which resulted with more up-time in the field.
In 2007, Proto-1 further expanded its manufacturing capacity from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet. This added capacity allowed for an expanded machining and assembly area. With this expansion also came the addition of a new quality control lab.
Along with the building expansion, Proto-1 added a state of the art quality lab to assist with its quality assurance process. In recent years, Proto-1 has added additional metrology equipment such as a CMM, an Optical Comparator, and 2 Faro Edge Arms.
In 2008, Proto-1 developed new features for its RAM-70 tube end forming machine. These features included an extended version (RAM-70E) to accommodate longer parts and new safety features such as wrap around guarding and light curtains.
In 2011, Proto-1 welcomed a new member to the family, Proto-Man. Proto-Man was designed and built out of previous project the company has performed. Proto-1 man displays only some of Proto-1’s end forming applications. During this time, Proto-1 also developed a new look for the company with a new rebranded logo.
In 2012, rotary end forming capabilities were expanded to handle diameters up to 16 inches. Built to handle these larger diameters, the RFM-16 is the largest rotary end forming that Proto-1 offers today.
In 2012, Proto-1 expanded its segmented product line with the invention of the ISM-6. This machine specializes in expansion, reduction, and beading. The machine uses the clamp to maintain concentricity of the tube.
Due to customer demand, Proto-1 introduced the SRB-18 in 2013. This new vertical end former expanding Proto-1’s end forming capabilities up to 18 inches in diameter. The SRB-18 was the first vertical rotary end forming machine that Proto-1 developed.
in 2014, Proto-1 added two Faro Edge Arms to its list of metrology equipment. The addition of these Faro Arms allows Proto-1 to conduct more accurate quality inspections, machine alignments, and reverse engineering.
In 2016, Proto-1 expanded its machining capabilities by adding new mills and lathe to a new area of the facility. This area would become the Quick Lead Time area to provide our customers with quick lead turnaround of hot orders and spare parts.
Proto-1 further expanded its RAM product line in 2016. The SRM-336 is a single ram machine capable of re-sizing, reshaping, reduction, and expansion. The machine allows for effective tooling with quick change overs.
With the development of the SRM-336 came the invention of the Smart Bend ™. The Smart Bend™ is a new custom aftermarket exhaust transition joint alternative for DIY use. The joint is current made 2.5 inch exhaust systems.
Proto-1 further expanded its segmented end forming line with the addition of the biggest indexing segment machine yet, the ISM-16. This machine can expand, reduce, and bead tube as large as 16 inches in diameter.
In 2016, direct inject tube form tooling, as known as HydroRAM®, was developed. This tooling can be installed in a standard Proto-1 RAM-40 or 70 giving the end former the ability to hydro form small parts. The HydroRAM® is currently patent pending.
Another addition was made to the Proto-1 family in 2017. Proto-Mantis was created by a Proto-1 engineer by using previously manufactured projects. Along with Proto-Man, Proto-Mantis further displays Proto-1’s tube end forming capabilities.
Proto-1 believes in educating our potential and existing customers. Our website has grown over the years to help better educate people/industries on our capabilities by offering a responsive user experience.
In 2017, Proto-1 launched FAST Technology, a new programming addition to our current machines. With FAST, the machine is able to track specific stats and running data for each part. That data is then stored and can be used at a later time for diagnostics or part studies.
New for 2017, Proto-1 introduced the DRR-15 (Dual Roller Rotary Machine). The DRR-15 can be used in either a vertical or horizontal position. While in the horizontal position, this machine has the capability to form long tubes. Applications include beading, grooving, and flaring.
In 2018, Proto-1 developed a new version of the indexing segmented machine (ISM-6). This new ISM-6 featured servo controlled jaws. Rather than using a timer interval to control the position of the jaws, the new ISM-6 uses a positional value. This value can then be tracked using our FAST Technology to ensure that every jaw is meeting its position every cycle. An available 2 jaw operation feature will reround tube and pipe from 2″ – 5″ in diameter. Applications for this machine include: beading, Norma Ball, expanding, reducing, rerounding, large beading, and flaring.
To be the partner-of-choice in the tube forming industry by providing innovative turnkey solutions and meaningful service support to North America manufacturers, empowering companies to offer superior products.