18-Year-Old Immigrant Becomes Machine Shop Founder, Dulio Arellano (Part I)—EP 218

June 3, 2024 - 12:54pm -- Selcuk Gulboy

My guest on today’s show immigrated to the United States from Mexico at 18 years old, went to tech school, worked his way up in job shops, became one of the top technicians at Tornos, and then founded his own successful job shop.

Dulio Arellano is the founder of Premier Swiss, a Tornos Swiss screw machine shop in Addison, Illinois.

He is one of the most knowledgeable people I know about Tornos Swiss machines throughout the world, and whenever we talk he always has fascinating insight about entrepreneurship in the machining business. He’s really good at all the stuff I’m always working on like negotiation, networking, and finding deals on used equipment. He’s also a heck of serendipity creator.

I actually had him on the show four years ago, but we’re both significantly better at our crafts now, and his business has grown a lot since the time of the last interview.

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Interview Highlights

Dulio Arellano, was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age 18 to join his father who had been working there since the 1970s. After working at various jobs when he first arrived, Dulio’s brother persuaded him to take a class on CNC machining at a community college. When he saw the machine make a part, Dulio knew he had found his passion.

Despite initial challenges in finding employment due to his lack of experience, Dulio persevered and gained worked at several shops and progressed from being an operator to a setup person, continually learning and setting new goals for himself. Then he met the president of Swiss machine manufacturer Tornos at IMTS. This connection led to a job offer at Tornos, where Dulio became the company’s ace technician for Deco Swiss-type lathes and MultiSwiss CNC multi-spindle machines.

In 2018 Dulio seized an opportunity to purchase a used Deco 10 lathe from one of his clients and started his own contract machining business Premier Swiss. Today the company has nine employees, a variety of Tornos Swiss machines and produces components for industries such as hydraulics, automotive, defense, aerospace, medical, and electronics.

Excerpt from Part I of the Interview:

Noah Graff: Do you feel a lot of operators are close minded about various brands and models of machines because they’re different from the ones they’ve been trained on? From my point of view as a machinery dealer it seems like driving a Honda vs. a Ford.

Dulio Arellano: That’s exactly right. There are still people who say that maybe Ford is better than Chevy. These cars will take you places, just like the machines. The machine doesn’t make the operator. The operator makes the machine make amazing things. They all have issues, limitations, and one thing that you’re not going to like about them.

Noah Graff: And most of them have something special about them, particularly Tornos.

Dulio Arellano: Yeah, they all have something that is going to make things better. It’s just a matter of what you think is better and what’s going to work for what you’re trying to do.

Noah Graff: Why do you prefer Tornos to other Swiss machines?

Dulio Arellano: For a lot of reasons, not only because I believe that they’re better machines. I think they’re great machines, and they offer a lot of good benefits. They’re made thinking of the operator, the final person who’s going to spend the most time in front of the machine.

In the Deco line, all your tools get preset outside the machine, making it easy right there because you are not getting your hands into the machine as much. You preset your tools, put them in, and there is no touch.

Noah Graff: And there’s so much room inside the machine.

Dulio Arellano: That, and the layout of the machine. For example, you’ve probably seen MultiSwiss (Tornos’s latest CNC multi-spindle). Do you see how the door opens? I mean, you can literally walk in the machine.
The Swiss Nano is another example. How much more accessibility do you want for a machine that small? The complete cabin opens.


Question: What would be your ideal job working in a machine shop?

Tune in for Part II in two weeks for Dulio’s philosophy when hiring inexperienced workers and why he likes to work on the shop floor.

This article was originally posted on

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