Wednesday, January 20, 2021Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

Tech-Con Automation Inc.

Robotic systems, integrated solutions

Having assembled a talented staff of mechanical and electrical designers, millwrights and system programmers, Tech-Con Automation provides its customers with a variety of products and services, from electrical panels to integration services and material handling equipment.

Organizational growth

Founded in 1995, and currently led by General Manager Nino LaDuca, the Tech-Con Automation staff conceptualizes and designs the equipment which they offer to customers. Over the years, the company has shifted its direction and services from systems integration to include the production of material handling equipment. Over time, the company introduced robotics into its equipment designs, thus streamline the company into a new avenue of automation options for its customer base.

“A lot of equipment we build now integrates robotic arms, however we still do automation where there is no presence of a robot,” LaDuca said. “In the 16 years we’ve been in business, we’ve gone from four individuals with a humble start, to expanding the services and equipment provided. Now we employ 43 direct employees and a dozen subcontractors as well.”

Offering systems integration services to not only Canadian companies, the services of Tech-Con Automation expanded across North America. Currently, the majority of Tech-Con Automation’s equipment has been delivered and installed in the United States. Additionally, the company has also recently completed projects in Brazil. LaDuca summarized, “Our skill set and equipment is being requested in several countries all over the world.”

Fiscal challenges

The year 2008 was an “absolutely incredible” year for Tech-Con Automation. The company had many projects that year, which involved local automotive manufacturers. Unfortunately the automotive sector tumbled the following year. LaDuca commented, “In 2009, there was obviously a lack of spending from any company and rightfully so. The automotive sector has always been good to us, but that sector was going through some difficult economic challenges.

“Companies couldn’t stay in business any longer, people exited the workforce from layoffs and a lot of customers didn’t have the money to spend on capital projects, ourselves included. We went from a labour force of 52 people to about 30. We remained in business however, and I think this speaks volumes about the team of owners here at Tech-Con Automation.”

Understanding the value of its staff, Tech-Con Automation took the necessary steps to ensure they could retain their core employees during a time of economic uncertainty.

“We temporarily changed our model to the point where we weren’t building brand new capital equipment, but rather we were actually refurbishing existing equipment,” LaDuca explained. “Given our state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot facility, we felt that we had the ability to change our business model to include helping our customers move and refurbish their production lines for launches in different facilities.”

Employee value

Tech-Con Automation welcomes challenging requests from its customer base, often accepting requests to prepare an automation application that fully utilizes the impressive skill set of its staff. The end products provided by Tech-Con Automation are ultimately intended to improve customer productivity.

On the shop floor at Tech-Con Automation, processes include welding, fabrication, assembly and equipment testing. In addition, the facility has the resources and equipment to mock-up and program robotic cells to provide demonstrations for customers for observation and equipment buy off, prior to shipping.

Over the years, the vision for Tech-Con Automation was to diversify its services into different areas. This vision has created new offerings and cost-effective systems to industries that are considering robotic technology for their production facilities. As an example, Tech-Con Automation has aggressively been in pursuit of expanding into several new industries, including the food and beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. Tech-Con Automation also continues to pursue industry opportunities with companies considering robots for cutting applications, such as laser cutting.

“We are in an industry that has a lot of challenges and the profits are not what they used to be. Profits have eroded over time, so internally our goals are to become better at what we do and become more efficient,” LaDuca continued. “We do a lot to try to achieve that. We have a lot of processes in place for a company of our size. Quality is on the minds of everyone, but at the same time we’re not too big of an organization where we get caught up in a lot of red tape.”

As a medium-sized organization, Tech-Con Automation believes its company is the ideal size for business flexibility. This flexibility provides the company’s designers and integrators with an environment of autonomy; advocating creativity and empowerment.

“The culture here impacts what we design and what we build. At the end of the day, it impacts the interaction that we have with customers,” LaDuca said.

“Several of our suppliers have been with us since 1995 and still continue to work with us. A lot of our success can be attributed to them. They have been exceptional business partners providing us the necessary terms in order to allow us to service our customers. Our suppliers have always been willing to provide education on new technologies and have always been interested in our business. They have been a key component and why our company is very successful.”

“We want to continue to be a flexible and focused company,” LaDuca concluded. “We’re very easy to do business with, and we provide the opportunity to build sound automation equipment for our customers and support them, as well as providing jobs for people in our communities.”