"We're 77% ahead of our business last year. We knew six months ago that this recession was happening, and we planned. We decided we weren't participating in any recession," said Joe Bailey, an automation specialist with Turner Machine Company.
Turner Machine Company, Inc. is a custom machine builder and full-service machine shop in Smyrna, Tenn., outside Nashville. The company works predominately with automotive companies. Toyota is a major customer for Turner’s services.
Bailey and Turner were working and exhibiting at the Plant Engineering South technology exposition in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday. Business is good. “We’re hiring,” Bailey said.
“We serve a lot of the Tier One suppliers in the automotive industry also. They need strong, value-add companies to help them adapt their equipment to limited budgets in times like this.”
Turner shows companies how to use their automated equipment, save time and money by increasing productivity and accuracy and by eliminating the manufacturing of non-conforming parts.
“The automobile isn’t going away,” Bailey said. “We expect retooling next year to further enhance our business.”
Bailey’s comments were in marked contrast to the drumbeat of bad news from across the globe. “GM needs to go into bankruptcy and get out from under the UAW. Ford has worked it out. My F-150 companies (Ford’s popular pick-up truck) are operating wide open. I think they’ll sell more of those trucks than ever this year,” he said.
Dean Curd, sales manager for Aqua Measure Instrument Company, said their business was moving along well, with revenue at about the same levels as last year. Curd sells moisture analyzers to many process industries. Food, pharmaceutical, tobacco, and pulp and paper producers are some of his many clients.
His meters instantaneously measure how much water is any product that passes beneath. “It’s very important to customers and producers who buy and sell by weight. They don’t want to pay for water; they want to pay for product.
“I was in China recently to demonstrate this ultraviolet technology for a tobacco grower. This unit costs around $15,000. That company bought four of them. Most of our business is in the U.S., but the percentage we do in Asia is increasing.”
Brett Havertine is an application engineer at Cimtec Automation Engineering Solutions. “We distribute for Cognex and other vision companies. Our work is mostly in automotive and the pharmaceutical industries. It seems when one area slacks off, we pick up in another. There has not been any downturn of business during this recession.”
Traffic on the floor of this show was moderate-to-brisk during the first day of the two-day event.
The event combines the Advance Manufacturing Exposition & Conference, the Automation Technology Expo, SouthPack, the Green Manufacturing Expo, Powder & Bulk Solids Southeast, Process Technology for Industry PTX South, MetalTec, and Design & Manufacturing South under one roof.—Nicholas Sheble