Danville manufacturer on expansion fast-track
Acquisition of former rival spurs company to add space, positions
DANVILLE — A local company is gearing up for a major expansion after it successfully acquired one of its former competitors.
On Friday, officials with Automation International Inc., a full engineering and automated equipment manufacturer, announced the acquisition of Hess Industries rim and wheel intellectual property.
Now the Danville firm will be building a 19,000-square-foot addition onto its existing plant, at 1020 Bahls St., and creating 15 to 18 skilled positions over the next 12 months, President Larry E. Moss said. He also said the company plans to outsource more work to local machine shops "because we can't hire quickly enough."
Moss said the positions — which include engineers, technicians, shop employees and probably a couple of administration staff — will be high-paying jobs. The company already has 60 employees.
Hess Industries, located in Niles, Mich., ceased operations in June 2012. The purchase aligns with Automation International's role as an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of automated wheel production equipment including welding, metal-forming, assembly and spinning.
"We have been highly involved in the design and manufacture of all aspects of the automated wheel production industry for many years," Moss said in a release. "The addition of the intellectual property from Hess will take what we have always been doing and make us better."
Moss said Automation International will be manufacturing a series of machinery that Hess did. It's the same equipment that his company currently builds, only much larger.
Moss said the building expansion is necessary to accommodate that. The company plans to break ground on the addition in 30 to 60 days in the hopes that it will be operational in six months.
"We've got to get moving," he said. "We've already got a very large order."
Automation International was established in 1991 with the merging of three well-known industrial machinery companies that have a continuous history dating back almost 100 years.
The company designs and manufactures a variety of automated, flexible welding and forming systems ranging from one machine to a complete production line. As a global equipment manufacturer, it can provide wheel manufacturers with the welding equipment and support for any application.
In addition, Automation International designs and manufactures custom welding solutions using spot, seam, projection, flash buttweld and arc for the automotive, agriculture, aerospace, military, construction, furniture and appliance industries.