Facility Expansion Advances Manufacturing in the Rockford Area
It’s 7:30 a.m. The air is cool and crisp from the freshly fallen snow. Employees are met with clashing hammers, clattering drills, chattering construction workers, and the occasional rumble from an excavator removing dirt from the ground. To some, the construction sounds may be distracting and annoying, but for Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME), they’re the sounds of growth, progress, and advancement.
AME broke ground on its $3.5 million facility expansion back in December of 2017. Since then, all construction processes, led by Cord Construction, have been on track for its scheduled completion deadline in June. The expansion not only increases the capacity for some of AME’s product lines, but it also marks the advancement of manufacturing here in the Rockford community.
Reshoring + Insourcing = Organic Growth
AME had to quickly increase their capacity to meet customer demand that was a result of reshoring and insourcing of manufacturing in the United States.
“We’ve experienced some organic growth across several of our product lines, so to help keep up with the demand and decrease our lead times, we invested in a large Horizontal Machining Center from Toyoda Americas Corporation,” said Dietmar Goellner, President and CEO of AME.
Goellner also discussed how AME plans to replace some of their old machinery with brand new CNC technology over the next couple of years. “Which means we’re going to need more CNC machinists to operate the equipment.”
Advancements in technology and the growth of Industry 4.0, or the Internet of Things (IoT), has created a demand for experienced individuals in programming, machine manufacturing, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T).
AME has partnered with Rock Valley College and other community organizations to focus on STEM educational opportunities that will attract younger generations to the manufacturing sector, and to provide the hands-on experience necessary to be successful within the industry.
Advancing Manufacturing with New Job Opportunities
As the global competitive nature in terms of pricing changes, businesses now have the opportunity to advance manufacturing in the United States.
“You can’t just offer service industries to propel an economy,” said Goellner. “You got to produce, and if we can start building up manufacturing, those who are unemployed will start to find career opportunities again.”
In addition to CNC machinists, AME has available positions for Regional Sales Managers, Mechanical Design Engineers, and Quality Control Technician Inspectors.
“Things have really ramped up for us in the last couple of years, and we’re seeing a lot more spending on machine tools and machines,” said Steve Schubert, Chief Sales Operator of AME. “We’re always looking for additional national representation from individuals who are energetic, multi-faceted, persistent, and enjoy a fast-paced work environment.”
Goellner is excited to bring more jobs to the Rockford community. As a manufacturing activist, he is determined to do his part in promoting the growth of business and to support the advancement of manufacturing in the United States.
“We believe in providing the jobs to sustain our success over the next few decades, so that we don’t lose our manufacturing capabilities. If all we do is act as a service country, then at some point it becomes a national security issue because we’re not building anything.”
Building a Legacy
With over 50 years of machine tool experience, legacy is such an important thing at AME. “If you want to build something that lasts, it can’t just be about dollar and cents,” said Goellner. “You have to be able to invest in your people and maintain those relationships so that you can continue to advance forward.”
As the company continues to grow, they hope to develop a culture of thought leadership and inspire other organizations and individuals to support the American job-reshoring initiative.
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of The Voice by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (Page 17).