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T&K Machine adding manufacturing capacity and jobs

At a time when many companies are hurting and even folding, T&K Machine is looking to expand both its factory and work force.

“We are excited,” Operations Vice President Corey Campbell said. “We’re happy to have people with the city and the PEDC working with us.”

T&K plans to add 5,000 square feet to its 27,000-square-foot facility at 2220 W. Park St. The $1.56 million expansion will run west parallel to Park. The company will ask the City Council for a five-year tax abatement for the expansion this month.

T&K currently employs about 65 people, with plans to add 22 in the future. Its current facility houses about 24 machines. The expansion would mean eight more.

The new part of the building is designed to take out the far wall and expand further if needed.

“We haven’t had a major expansion in about 15 years,” Campbell said. “Our hope is things go well enough that we’ll be able to do that.”

Workers currently work just about round the clock every day.
“We’re trying to add people to these shifts we have,” Campbell said. “There aren’t very many hours we’re not open.”

The company has an in-house training program to build the skills it needs in employees — even training them while it does so.

“That’s something a lot of places don’t do,” Campbell said. “We bring them up through the system internally.”

With the economy still faltering, the aircraft industry is trending toward more efficient aircraft and engines, Campbell said.

And that means more work for suppliers like T&K Machine. The backlog for one of the company’s clients, Boeing, is at record highs for the next five or more years. Boeing makes 35 737s a month, Campbell said, and is looking for ways to get that number up into the 40s or even higher.“The need for these newer, more efficient airplanes is driven by that,” he said. “They need these plans to stay competitive.”

“The biggest driver is commercial,” Campbell said. “That’s why we’re expanding.”

T&K started in 1968 and has been in its current location since 1973. The company has supplied machined parts and assemblies to the aerospace industry since 1968. Major customers include Spirit AeroSystems, UTAS, The Boeing Company, Triumph-Vought Aerostructures, and Bell Helicopter. T&K makes hundreds of parts for a wide range of military and commercial aircraft, such as the C-130, 737, 747, 777 and the 787.“Any Boeing commercial aircraft built in the last 25 years almost certainly has parts we’ve made,” Campbell said. “We do things from the size of the end of a pen to — I think — our largest part is 183 inches.”

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