Local firm doubles business, size of facilities in ToledoWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Projects Designed & Built Inc. (PD&B) of Toledo has doubled its business in the past year and is expanding its facilities for the fourth time in its 13-year history.
PD&B designs and builds custom automation and specialized machinery for state-of-the-art manufacturing on a global basis, said Ken Martin, founder and president.
“We design and build equipment for the aluminum tubing, blow molding, automotive, food and green technology industries. We’re making machines that are faster, more efficient, easy to use and more profitable which is the bottom line,” Martin said.
2011 was PD&B’s best year ever, which is the driving force for continued growth, Martin said.
In 2011, more than 60 percent of the machines it designed and built were shipped to China, Mexico, Brazil, Hungary and the Netherlands.
“The future looks incredibly bright as we’re getting more and more exposure in Europe. We’ve got some potential that is huge,” Martin said.
PD&B is building a processing line to produce aluminum tubing for Güntner AG, a heating and cooling manufacturer, at its plant in Hungary.
Marcus Haman of Güntner’s division in Austria visited PD&B’s plant in Toledo the week of Feb. 13 for the pre-acceptance testing of the machinery before it is shipped to Hungary. Güntner makes heat exchangers for commercial and industrial customers in Europe.
“PD&B is a good company and the service is excellent,” Haman said. “It is not common for European companies to buy machinery in the U.S.”
The production line PD&B designed and built for Güntner will be shipped by truck to Detroit where it will be crated and put on a flight for Budapest. From there, it will be shipped by truck to the company’s plant at a total cost of about $70,000,” Martin said.
PD&B has built processing equipment and machinery for customers that include Owens Corning, Owens- Illinois, Johns Manville, Hydro Aluminum, Kaiser Aluminum, Kraft/Cadbury, Spangler Candy, First Solar, Xunlight and Sauder.
The company also designed and built a filling line to fill the cartridges for the JAWS (Just Add Water System) cleaning products distributed by JAWS International Ltd. of Toledo, Martin said.
Martin began his career after serving as an avionics technician in the U.S. Air Force and earning a degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“I’m a transplant who was born in Illinois and raised in Milwaukee,” he said.
He went to work for Morse Industrial Products, a division of Borg Warner Corporation, serving in Ithaca, N.Y., Pittsburgh and Detroit. He later sold industrial power transmission equipment for Reliable Belting & Transmission in Toledo.
Martin began designing basic automation machinery on computers after inheriting a design software program; this eventually led to the establishment of his own firm.
In December 1998, Martin said he “took a leap of faith” and started the company out of his home in Sylvania. He hired one of the engineers from his previous company and a neighbor to do the paperwork.
The firm moved into its original 6,000 square-foot building about eight years ago. It soon doubled the size of that facility to 13,500 square feet to accommodate the growth in business.
Unfortunately, the bottom dropped out in 2008, Martin said. He was down to two engineers, two guys in the shop and about to inform them that they were being laid off.
That same day, Martin said they received a $500,000 order for a rebuild project that kept the business going. The company has continued to grow since then.
PD&B purchased the building next to its existing offices and plant on American Road East in Toledo in September 2011. The company nearly doubled its size again with the additional 12,200 square feet.
“It’s made a huge impact already and allows us to build larger pieces of equipment,” Martin said.
The company recently completed an expansion project to build an 18-foot-by-21-foot connector to join the two buildings. Workers can now drive fork lifts to move materials and products between the buildings.
Martin said the City of Toledo helped PB&D with receiving the zoning, permits and negotiations with First Energy that led to getting a grant to pay for the necessary electrical upgrades.
“The city really came through for us,” Martin said, which included resurfacing the cul-de-sac and road where they are located.
PB&D currently has 23 employees but expects to expand in 2012. For more information about PD&B, visit www.pdbinc.com.