A 136-year-old Springfield company is investing more than $500,000 in its Springfield facility, focusing more attention on the commercial aerospace and oil and gas industries, and recently debuted a high-tech engine stand used to transport engines used in Boeing commercial airliners.
The moves are part of an effort to re-brand the Champion Company, targeting military and government business, and place more emphasis on the ground support side of its business, said Todd DeVore, vice president and general manager of the company.
The company is split into two divisions. One entity focuses on chemicals for the funeral industry. The other special products division provides engine stands and containers, among other products. The special products division was recently renamed Champion GSE, while the funeral products division will remain unchanged.
Along with its company-wide investment in the new engine stand, DeVore said the company is investing approximately $500,000 to bring more equipment into its Springfield facility and improve its in-house manufacturing capabilities.
“It makes it clearer to the markets we serve that this company is placing a real focus on ensuring we have the products (customers) require to safely transport and work on their cargo,” DeVore said.
The company has about 100 employees, but DeVore said the company is hiring.
He said Champion GSE will focus on developing products for the military and government, the oil and gas industries and commercial aerospace. The Champion Company traditionally has served as a supplier for General Electric engine platforms, and recently also began producing items that are made under license from General Electric Company, USA.
In the past, DeVore said the company worked through GE or another intermediary to market its products. But the licensing change means the company can now market its products directly to its customers.
The new engine stand can be used to transport both GE’s 1B and 2B GEnx engines. The engines can weigh between 13,000 and 15,000 pounds, and includes features that make transportation safer and easier for customers. The stands are used by maintenance, repair and overhaul services when customers transport the engines for repairs.
The Champion Company recently debuted the engine stand at the MRO Americas conference in Arizona. DeVore said the new engine stand has been well-received at the event.
“The re-branding efforts and the product rollout at this industry trade event are being received very ,and we expect this to result in increased business, which will have a positive effect on Springfield,” he said.
The Springfield News-Sun is committed to covering business in Clark and Champaign counties. The paper keeps track of local manufacturing firms as they expand and refocus their business throughout the region.