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Room to Grow: Dramco Tool Co. adds new space to accommodate employee safety, productivity, future expansion

Room to Grow: Dramco Tool Co. adds new space to accommodate employee safety, productivity, future expansion

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Dramco Tool Co. celebrated the recent expansion of its plant at 502 Claude Road on Friday with tours of its facility and a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dramco is a full-service manufacturing shop that specializes in design and building of metal stamping dies, design and building of plastic injection molds and compression molds, all types of tooling for composite parts, fabrication including laser cutting, water jet cutting, press brake work, and custom machine design and building.

Dramco is an international business that serves the automotive, heavy-duty on-and-off-road equipment, aerospace and military, consumer products and agricultural industries.

The business is owned by Bill Koch, president, and vice presidents Justin Pfenning, Todd Jacobson and Larry Patten.

Dramco was established in 1978, beginning as a two-person shop with the basic manual machine tools. The original location was on Pine Street.

“It was kind of a small and oversize garage type of building,” said Pfenning.

The business moved to its current location on Claude Road in 1980. They have added to the location over the years as the business grew.

“We were working with an inefficient shop and layout,” said Patten about why the company went ahead with the new addition. “Our business had expanded over the last few years to the point where we were bursting at the seams and we didn’t have the proper equipment to promote efficiency.”

Patten said they recently added on 11,000 square feet to make a “much more efficient and safe work environment.”

“Our work had become big and cumbersome and we were really doing things inefficiently,” he said. “We made our shop bigger and more efficient.”

Pfenning said about two years ago, “things were getting pretty tight in the shop.”

“We were really seeing guys struggle to get their jobs done because we were just too small of space,” he said. “That was when we made the decision to add on this 11,000 square feet.”

Pfenning said they also decided at the same time that along with an addition, they were going to reset the machinery they use and develop “little work pods” to allow more efficient use of space for greater efficiency and worker safety.

“We wanted to get everybody in the building where they needed to be to save on a lot of walking around they were doing,” he said.

Chief Construction of Grand Island was the contractor on the expansion project. Construction began last October.

Patten said they wanted to create a very employee-friendly workspace.

“We have a very stable workforce,” he said. “We had guys walking for miles every day just trying to get the job done. Now they are able to come and settle in and do their work in an open and nicer environment.”

“Everything is just a lot closer to their work area,” said Jacobson.

Pfenning said they approached the new addition differently than previous add-ons to the complex.

“We have always gotten to the point, realizing that we were out of space, then we added on and then figured out how we were going to use that space,” he said.

Pfenning said with the new addition, “We looked at an overall reset of all the machines and shop. We left ourselves (space) in all of these different areas so we don’t have to reset machines again. We can continue to grow throughout the whole building.”

Koch said Dramco’s diversification is what sets the company apart. They are proud of the ability of their craftsmen and technicians to literally take a customer’s idea and help them turn it into reality by working with them throughout the whole process.

“We aren’t just stuck with one industry,” he said. “We supply automotive, agriculture, aerospace, the military — we have a pretty wide space of customers.”

Koch said their equipment and facilities are of the highest quality, and the company takes pride in its on-time delivery, and follow-up support and services. The company’s national reputation is based upon expert personal service, leading edge technology and results.

Patten said the manufacturing industry is changing with a lot of manufacturing plants returning to the U.S. after years of being abroad.

“We are poised to grow,” he said. “We have been around for more than 40 years and we are going to be around another 40 years.”

For more information about Dramco, visit its website at dramcotool.com.

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