A growing Dayton-area manufacturer is expanding its production footprint in 2020. This comes amid accelerating demand for its temperature monitoring products during the Covid-19 pandemic.
American Thermal Instruments (ATI), a manufacturer serving the medical device, diagnostics, life sciences, industrial and food industries, inked an order this month to procure additional high-speed production machines for its Moraine headquarters.
The new equipment, supplied by Sidney-based precision machine and prototype manufacturer A&B Machine and Design, has so far enabled ATI to increase its production capacity for disposable forehead thermometer strips by 43%.
“For businesses to stay open and go back to work, everybody is supposed to be taking temperatures,” Randy Lane, ATI’s chief strategy officer, told me. “We wanted to be able to service that need as much as possible — not only from a business perspective, but from a humanitarian perspective as well.”
ATI contacted A&B Machine in early March as demand started ramping up. After visiting ATI’s facility, A&B representatives designed and crafted a custom machine to help ATI expand its production lines. The order was completed in three weeks.
“We just watched their processes and reverse engineered the equipment, and then we added another line,” said Dan McMahon, vice president of sales and business development at A&B. “We actually are finishing up two more right now for them.”
The thermometers strips are crafted from pre-printed paper substrate applied with multiple calibrations of liquid crystal dots. They include six color-coded temperature indicators measuring both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and they are designed to display accurate readings after 15 continuous seconds of contact, the company said.
The three machines currently installed are capable of producing about 3 million units each, Lane said.
“This project was tough all around, but we couldn’t have imagined a better partnership than we had with A&B to find a solution,” said Bill Jacob, ATI’s plant improvement manager.
Though demand plateaued in some areas as early supply chain challenges diminished, ATI has continued to see growth in other product lines, Lane said. When Gov. Mike DeWine suspended elective surgeries in mid-March, for instance, ATI began producing more diagnostic indicators — like temperature screening products — rather than medical device indicators.
The company is gradually transitioning back toward its core business, though it has the flexibility to shift its focus as new demands arise. The new equipment from A&B will still be used in ATI’s daily processes, even when demand for temperature screening products subsides, Lane said.
“We have 78,000 square feet here that we’ve been reworking and remodeling as our business needs change — so, we have plenty of space,” he said. “We certainly have the ability to flex more and create more demand when called upon.”
Founded in 1981, American Thermal Instruments produces custom temperature monitoring solutions for industries that require the most accurate and measurable systems, including pharmaceutical, medical, food, beverage and industrial. The company employs about 75 people in total, including 65 workers at its Moraine facility.