BLUFFTON — GROB Systems, Inc., one of the world leaders in the machine tool industry, has quietly been growing throughout the years.
According to company literature, GROB Systems, Inc. has had a presence in Bluffton since 1981, when it first set up the aircraft division facilities with an office for the machine tool sales near the Bluffton Airport along Interstate 75.
In 1990, ground was broken for the original 45,000 square foot manufacturing plant.
In 1994, another expansion. More growth in 1998, 2012 and in 2018, a project that’s in progress.
Today, GROB Systems in Bluffton makes several products, including sophisticated five-axis Computer Numerical Control machines for the auto industry.
Its expertise lies in its people and training programs.
“Our biggest asset is our people,” said Darrin Lanasky, assembly manager at GROB. “We spend a lot of effort in investing in an apprenticeship program, and our manufacturing philosophy is vertically integrated. That simply means we try to manufacture as much content in-house as we can because we can control the quality of the products that we make, and these products are very sophisticated.”
That requires a highly skilled workforce, he said.
“These are machines for the automotive (industry) for other customers outside of the automotive (industry) that make parts that have really tight tolerances, and it takes a highly skilled employee to be able to handle dealing with that technology, so that’s one of the key things is really our people. We couldn’t do our work without a really high skilled workforce, and we’ve developed this workforce with a core of manufacturing knowledge that gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility because we don’t just have one product line, we have a pretty broad product line.”
The apprenticeship program combines classroom work with hands-on training, and you get paid while you train.
“Our apprenticeship program pretty much started from day 1 with the company,” Lanasky said. “This has migrated over the years to where we have students that we solicit from high schools. They take a test and usually anywhere from 40 to 25 apprentices per year get into the program, and we like to kind of split them off into two categories, electrical engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology or more mechanical.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.