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Small Business Spotlight: Han-Tek

Brett Davidsen
Updated: October 16, 2019 06:56 PM
Created: October 16, 2019 04:56 PM

HONEOYE FALLS, N.Y. (WHEC) — At Han-Tek, their job is to make your manufacturing business more efficient. They do that by designing, building and installing state-of-the art automation applications. 

Patrick Tobin is company president.

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"The reality is that virtually every opportunity we go into is unique," said Tobin during a recent tour of the facility in Honeoye Falls. "So we literally have to custom design our products, our solution for each one of our customers based on their needs."

Han-Tek was founded in 1961, starting out as a traditional materials handling company building conveyors, overhead cranes, and hoists. Tobin's father came on board and bought out the company in 1996. As changes occurred in the manufacturing environment, Han-Tek made the move to automation.

"Since then we've continued to try and stay on top of the most current adaptations to automation and the industrial manufacturing and distribution space throughout North America," Tobin said.

It's an impressive operation. There are dozens of electrical, mechanical and software engineers collaborating on as many as 25 projects at any given time. 

On the production floor, Tobin pointed out some of the projects they're currently working on. One of the biggest is this system for American Packaging in Chili.

"We are handling every material movement inside their facility, from the raw materials into the building through to the finished goods out of the building," he said.

Another project includes integrating industrial robots for a company that makes transmission shafts. For example, a camera detects the orientation of the raw materials in a bin and tells the robot how to pick them up.

They also install collaborative robots to take on repetitive actions. Tobin showed us one that is programmed to grab apple sauce cups and place them into filler machines.

Brett Davidsen: “You say you're an automation company, it seems to me you're a problem-solving company.”

Patrick Tobin: "Absolutely."

Tobin says there is a misunderstanding that automation is replacing jobs. He says most of their customers can't find the necessary labor, and this allows them to better leverage the people they have. 

"I would tell you I don't think we've done a job in the last 5-10 years that's actually replaced anybody," he explained. "Most of the company's we're dealing with cannot hire fast enough to accommodate their growth."

To deal with its own growth, Han-Tek moved earlier this year from Victor into the former GM fuel-cell plant in Honeoye Falls. Tobin says they now have about 70 employees. This new manufacturing space is three times the size of the old one.

"I really feel like we walked into a great opportunity here," he said. "We had been looking, because we were outgrowing our existing space. We've added roughly 30 employees over the last year and a half, and that created a crunch for us."

Tobin says it's rewarding to create solutions for such a wide range of industries.

"My father likes to say that we've moved everything from micro-chips to locomotives, and that is actually a true statement. So you get to see all of it and there is a lot of value in being able to see what you've created."

If you know of a small business we should feature, email us at spotlight@whec.com.


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