When I walked into the production area at Accudyn Products in Millcreek Township, I was immediately struck by how bright, clean, and high-tech the operations were. This is not the atmosphere that most people associate with manufacturing, but it is the reality for many of our Erie County manufacturers today.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that manufacturing is not a dirty profession,” Accudyn co-owner Tom Bly told us.
As we toured Accudyn, a family-owned custom injection molder, we saw workers monitoring machines that churned out plastic parts, from tiny shards to large, complex pieces. We saw crews in tooling and molding, in engineering and office support. We also took a peek inside the cavernous addition that is going up behind Accudyn’s Yoder Drive facility.
That extra 6,000 square feet on the facility’s footprint will help accommodate recent growth in the business that was actually sparked, in part, by the company’s secondary facility in Chihuahua, Mexico.
The Mexico manufacturing operation has created a greater need for jobs here in Erie County, including for support services, such as engineering and sales. In fact, Accudyn has added 55 jobs in the past 20 months in Erie County. The Mexico facility also has opened doors to other business sectors, such as the automotive industry.
About Accudyn: The company, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, is a custom injection molder. It handles engineering, tooling, and molding for international customers in a variety of markets – automotive, appliance, electronics, building and construction, heavy trucking, and medical. The company has about 125 employees at its Millcreek Township location and also employs about 270 workers at its manufacturing facility in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Why Erie County: Accudyn is family owned, with a second generation of the Bly family working at the company. Owners Peg and Tom Bly say that they stay in Erie County because, quite simply, Erie County is home. But Accudyn has also benefitted from another Erie County advantage – namely, proximity to Penn State Behrend and its plastics engineering program. Accudyn routinely plucks interns and new hires from Behrend’s engineering program.
Challenges in Erie County: That Behrend advantage is not lost on other plastics companies in the region, which means the Blys often face competition from larger companies to hire recent graduates. The Blys also said that they experience a shortage of workers trained in the skills needed for toolmaking and machining. In addition, they have encountered challenges in township zoning when it comes to expanding their Millcreek facility.
Address: 2400 Yoder Drive, Erie PA 16506
Coming up next week: We head out to Better Baked Foods in North East