Touring ABTech was a wonderful and educational opportunity. Ken Abbott, president of ABTech, gave our class an in-depth tour of the facilities. He was incredibly welcoming and was kind enough to take the time to show us how each machine works and what it does. We had the privilege of meeting some other ABTech employees and they were equally welcoming and kind. It is clear that ABTech is a close-knit company that values and respects their employees.
ABTech Inc. manufactures precision metrology systems. Essentially, these systems are used by other businesses to measure parts and components. An example of an ABTech product is the system that measures the roundness of pistons in vehicles. In addition to this, ABTech services aerospace, optical and semiconductor industries. Uniquely, ABTech uses air bearings. Air bearing are bearings that use a thin film of pressurized air to provide a low friction load-bearing interface between surfaces. This is what makes ABTechs systems so accurate and long-lasting. The air bearing rotors are made to sit on top of granite tables. The rotor then measures the roundness of an object by using a probe suspended above. ABTech gets their granite tables from Barre, Vermont. Most importantly, ABTech greatly helps our local economy by staying privately owned and denying big buyout off large corporations.
It was truly fascinating to compare our visit to ABTech and our visit to Janos Technology. Of course, these companies use different machinery and manufacture different things. However, as someone who had never toured a factory before, I really enjoyed being able to see the different layouts and machines. Overall, touring these firms was very exciting, and I learned a lot from it.
I would like to begin by saying what a wonderful opportunity it was to visit Janos Technology. In all honesty, I was a little bit skeptical of whether or not I would find it interesting to tour a high tech factory. However, I ended up finding it fascinating and I feel like I learned so much more than I expected. When I pictured this trip, I had a very clear picture in my mind of what I believed that Janos Technology would look like. After our tour, I can say that there were certainly some similarities, but also many differences.
From what I have seen of factories in movies and television shows, I expected Janos Technology to be a large room with a lot of machinery in it. This turned out to be mostly true. The bulk of the operations were located in a large room with a lot of machines. However, there were also some crucial parts of the process that were located off to the side or in separate rooms in the back. What went on in these locations turned out to be just as crucial to the process as what was going on with the machines in the large room. Off to the side was a ‘clean lab’ where the parts were cleaned and coated. The rooms in the back contained quality checking stations as well as shipping docks. These extra features are not something that I expected to see in the factory.
In a lot of ways, I was rather naive with my predictions about what Janos Technology would be like. Despite today’s advanced technology, I was still expecting an old factory with hundreds of people working; running machines and assembling parts. This was not the case at all. There were a decent amount of people running machines, but certainly not hundreds. The machines and the factory itself, were much more clean, well taken care of, and organized than I had pictured.
I had never heard of a Diamond Turning Machine before this class, so I really didn’t have an expectation of how one would work and what it would look like. From my perspective, It was a pretty compact machine compared to what I imagine most factory machinery to be. The Diamond Turning Machine was beyond fascinating to watch. It was so precise that you had to look incredibly closely to even see it work.
Overall, visiting Janos was a fascinating experience and I am very much looking forward to our classes other factory visits. I am very intrigued to see how the other factories compare to Janos Technology.