CHICAGO (July 11, 11:30 a.m. EDT) — Advanced Ventures in Technology Inc. will more than double the size of its Gladwin, Mich., facility, where it designs and manufactures thermoforming equipment.
President Al Petersen said the expansion means AVT will grow from 20,000 square feet to more than 40,000 square feet.
“In the past year or so, our sales have been extremely strong, particularly in the automotive and transportation markets,” he said.
AVT's building sits on 10 acres.
Petersen said there is a need for automation in thermoforming, which his firm is focused on as the plastics industry in general works to reduce the labor component of operations.
The expansion was fueled by a project AVT did for Better Bath Components in Waxahachie, Texas, in which AVT built a machine 70 feet in diameter and 40 feet high.
“We simply didn't have the space to build this particular machine in one of our several buildings,” Petersen said. “The next time — and we are close to several more large-size machine orders — we will have the space to do this.”
AVT currently employs 30 in Gladwin, where it has been since 1996. Petersen said his goal is to boost his staff size by 20 percent.
During the show, AVT highlighted a pick-and-place sheet loading and unloading system. Visitors could see material lifted from a stack with vacuum cups, rotated 90 degrees and placed on a shuttle conveyor. The sheet then was shuttled out, and shuttled back on a reversing conveyor. The pick-and-place system then picked the sheet up again, rotated it back 90 degrees and place it back on the stack, officials said.
The line can increase production by as much as 30 percent, officials said.