Taking Their Measure_
Precision, Creativity Set Gage Maker Apart
Excerpts of a news article by
Dan Haar - Hartford Courant Staff Writer
Inside the climate-controlled testing lab at Edmunds Gages, an inspector meticulously stacks Lego-size metal blocks, making sure they meet exact measurement standards for customers.
It is precision work, to be sure. Edmunds Gages, of Farmington, is one of the nation's top rated firms in the business of making and using dimensional measurement tools for metal trades.
"There's a little bit of art involved," said Dick Mierzejewski, manager of sales engineering at Edmunds. "There's a lot of experience that plays a part."
Founded in 1950, Edmunds makes machines calibrated to one-tenth of one-millionth of an inch – that's a tiny fraction of the size of a typical human cell.
The combination of precision and creativity is just a part of the reason why Edmunds is the sort of manufacturer Connecticut development boosters love to claim as a home-grown enterprise – and why those boosters will be disappointed to hear that Edmunds is looking to expand in the South, probably South Carolina.
With 130 employees, all of them in Farmington except a single sales manager in the Southeast, the family business has grown steadily, if slowly, under the Yankee principals of financial caution and product ingenuity.
At the helm are three generations of men named Robert F. Edmunds, including the 91-year old former schoolteacher who founded the company as a parts supplier to Pratt & Whitney and still works every morning; the current president Bob Jr., 63, and Robert Edmunds III, the 38-year-old Executive Vice President with a law degree from the University of Connecticut.
Through the years, the company has helped to lead the industrial measurement industry by making devices of increasing sophistication. Its line started with simple ring gages – precise masters used for checking parts – and expanded to electronic "columns," which measure parts using air pressure or super-sensitive electromechanical probes.
The latest, computerized gages, many of which cost more than $100,000, are designed to feed information directly back to factory machines. The factory machines, in turn, correct themselves automatically.
Half of the machines Edmunds produces are not standard-issue models, but custom designs, complete with individually tailored mechanisms that catch and line up widgets. The movement toward more sophisticated factory controls in metal-based industries has fed growth at the company, Rob Edmunds III said.
"There is a built in stability to the gaging business," Bob Edmunds Jr. said. Stability, he said that has evolved into complexity.
Managers at Edmunds say one of the keys to the company's success is that it does much of its work in-house. It has for example, an electronics shop, a thorough manufacturing shop, a meticulous "lapping" area, a chrome plating shop, a paint shop, and it makes its own laboratory instruments. It also conducts research, including a current project on the effect of temperature changes on a specific part for a customer.
Today, Edmunds Gages continues to grow and prosper as it blends it's mechanical, electronic, and computerized expertise, to provide the most precise dimensional measurement products to industries throughout the world.
As Bob Edmunds Sr. approaches the age of 92, he visits the plant daily, and views with pride, the growth and progress of the company he started in 1950.
A New Dimension In Precision Measurement