From gadgets we use on a daily basis to things we see launchinto space, many people don’t know theycould have been made right here in our own backyards.
The next time you respond to a text message on yourcellphone or turn on the navigation system in your car- materials that wentinto making those items may have been made by Indium Corporation.
Founded in Utica in 1934, the company was exclusivelyfocused on the element indium, but fast-forward to 2012… “We quicklyexpanded to other metals and alloys that included indium. But, then went beyondindium to alloys and metals that don’t’ have anything to deal with indium.While we still manufacture materials that have indium we also manufacturematerials that don’t have indium at all,” said Rick Short, Director ofMarketing Communications.
Indium Corporation has grown from a small number of peopleto now 700 employees worldwide with 12 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europeand Asia.
The company is a manufacturer of industrial assemblymaterials- ranging from automotive electronics to medical electronics to nanomaterial.
But, what does that mean?
“Our customers are the famous names you know. We arethe behind the scenes material that enables them to produce their products. Soyou can find our products in common items like cellphones, laptops, medicaldevices and communication devices,” said Short.
Another high-tech company that also makes products forfamous names is CTM or Custom Tool & Model Corporation in Frankfort.
Started by his father back in the 60s, Steven Naegele sayshe’s keeping the dream alive for precision machining.
The company shapes metals and materials with old fashiontechnology as well as new, updated methods, like cutting metal with electricityor lasers.
CTM makes a variety of parts for items ranging from computersto airplanes to rockets.
“The latest everyone knows about is the curiosity thatis on mars right now doing soil sampling. We made 50 or 60 parts for this particularproject. And others we’re doing that we can’t tell you about,” said Naegele.
Thanks to a trade show in New York City, CTM met engineerswho were working for a subcontractor for NASA. To make a long story short in2008, CTM was building a scoop on the rover for the Phoneix Project.
“One part led to another part that led to many parts.So each year, each quarter we are doing different stuff for NASA. It’s veryexciting,” said Naegele.
And interestingly enough, CTM says the crews don’t knowexactly what project they are working on at the time until it gets leaked out bythe engineers they work with.
It’s a different story for Trenton Technology in Utica. Itstarted off as a refurbishment business with only three employees.
CEO Albert Mazloom says it evolved into a contractmanufacturing business and now also develops its own products.
“Our product is not for the typical consumer. You’renot going to buy a computer from best buy and find our product in it,” saidMazloom.
Trenton Technology says you can find its product in Utica ifyou are a heavy equipment dealer driving a forklift truck. The business alsoserves the defense industry, medical industry and even the toy industry.
“People tend to think of things in terms of an endproduct in a box like an iPhone. What they don’t see is the guts. We buildthose guts that people take and make it into an end product,” said EdwardWheeler, the Director of Manufacturing Engineering.
Wheeler says the company buys new equipment and upgradesalmost every year.
No matter how big these companies have grown throughout theyears- one thing is for sure- they say they plan on continuing to keep to theirroots right here in Central New York.