Technology as a driver of business and jobs is a recurring theme at the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Show, the region’s annual manufacturing showcase.
So, Chris Small, president of American Testing Services Ltd. in Moraine, fit in Wednesday as he talked about new technology’s impact on his business.
Small said new technology and a focus on aerospace customers has fueled what will be an approximately 12,000-square-foot expansion next year at his North Moraine Drive business. American Testing has an array of equipment which detects and identifies flaws in devices and structures, such as roller coasters.
Small said he will probably add 12 to 15 people to his current workforce of 26.
Dan Reynolds, who handles sales for American Testing, said when he joined the company seven years ago, 30-35 percent of its business was with the automotive sector. Last year, less than 0.5 percent of his company’s sales went to auto, Reynolds said.
More than ever, the company serves aerospace and aviation clients who need great precision. A recent acquisition for American Testing has been a machine that immerses devices underwater and uses ultrasound to detect flaws as small as 1/64th of an inch, six inches under a surface.
New technology investments like that are necessary, Reynolds said. “I’ve got to keep my finger on the pulse all the time.”
Others participating in the Dayton Region Manufacturer Association’s most important event talked about new ways of doing business.
Michael Freed, a senior consultant with Sinclair Community College’s Workforce Development Division, said manufacturers still want employees with the right skills. But increasingly, they’re looking for workers who can master not just production of individual parts, but who can perfect processes, the large-scale production of items.
“There are more people (companies) like that than we’ve had before,” Freed said.
New show participants this year are representatives of the International Union of Electronic Workers-Communication Workers of America.
The IUE-CWA is working with managers at its represented sites across the nation to help bring new jobs from overseas, said Michael Mayes, a Moraine-based IUE-CWA lean facilitator.
That work with GE has helped bring production of a hybrid water heater from China to GE’s “Appliance Park” in Louisville, Ky., Mayes said. Since 2008, some 2,300 jobs have been added at Appliance Park, he added.
“We’re starting to see jobs coming back,” Mayes said.
The show continues 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today.