Manufacturing jobs get boost


The state has approved an $800,000, low-interest loan to help a Southington manufactur­er upgrade its equipment and add jobs.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Mon­day the state Department of Economic and Community De­velopment and the Connecticut Development Authority will provide the loan to AcuCut Inc. at 200 Town Line Road.

The two agencies will each contribute $400,000 for the 10­year loan, at a 3.75 percent in­terest rate, said David Treadwell, spokesman for the DECD. The loan includes a con­dition that the company must add 10 jobs within the next three years, or pay a penalty equal to $1,000 for each job it fails to add. AcuCut, founded in 1978, does high-tech machining of metals, including electrical dis­charge machining, or EDM, and industrial laser cutting. EDM uses sparks of electricity to cut very hard metals or to make in­tricate cuts that would be diffi­cult with conventional tools.

The company produces items for manufacturers in the aero­space, automotive, power gen­eration and medical industries.

According to Rell, AcuCut built a state-of-the-art, 30,000­square-foot facility in 1998 and employs 56 people, but is now looking to expand.

Scott Barmore, AcuCut’s chief executive officer, said the company will use $200,000 of the loan toward purchasing a new $1 million machine that will improve production and allow them to add the jobs.

“It’s a laser drilling ma­chine called a YAG laser,” he said. “It will be a complement to our EDM drilling, but it will put holes in much faster than EDM would be able to.”

Barmore said his company drills holes primarily for aero­space and power generation parts, some of which may re­quire 10,000 holes in one part.

“You could never compete putting those 10,000 holes in with EDM. It just doesn’t go fast enough,” he said.

AcuCut also hopes to fill a void in Connecticut, Barmore said.

“There’s no one in Con­necticut that offers this YAG drilling as a service now,” he said. “There are companies that do have this type of ma­chine, but they do only their own work. You’d have to leave Connecticut to get this type of work.”

Barmore also hopes to posi­tion his company as a vendor for Pratt & Whitney, which will build engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that is still being developed but eventual­ly will head into full produc­tion.

“There aren’t enough ap­proved vendors to support that,” he said. “Though that’s a ways off, we felt like, ‘You can’t wait.’ You have to be a player first and maybe then you can land some of that work down the road.”

He also said the decision to expand in a bad economy was based on concerns over the growing state budget gap.

“With the budget deficit, we felt one of the first things to go would be a (loan) program like this,” he said. “Who knows how long that will be available.”

Rell said the state is deter­mined to do what it can to help companies in Connecticut.

“Although the manufactur­ing world has changed dra­matically in many respects, the bottom line is still about innovative people making in­novative products,” Rell said. “This has always been Con­necticut’s strength, and our state will continue to encour­age companies like AcuCut to keep and grow jobs here.”