By Christine Graf
Doty Machine Works has invested $1 million to purchase and install a vertical milling machine that will allow the company to take on larger jobs.
The Fort Edward machine shop was founded in 1951 and purchased by Elizabeth Miller in 2014. Since that time, she has invested approximately $5 million in equipment and building renovations.
Miller is also the owner of Miller Mechanical in Glens Falls.
According to Miller, the company has purchased six new machines in five years. The purchase of the vertical milling machine will allow Doty Machine Works to expand its customer base. The machine is so large that a new foundation had to be poured to support its 120,000-pound weight.
“There aren’t a lot of machine shops in our area that have these significantly larger machines to do significantly larger tooling that needs to be done for these customers,” said Miller. “We are expanding our customer base with the purchase of the larger machine. It’s called an F Series Vison Wide … It means that we can be more cost competitive because we have less setups for these bigger fabrications. It means that we don’t have to move the piece around the shop to different machines. We can do it all right there.”
Smaller machines can require multiple tooling setups, and each setup can be very time consuming. When fewer setups are required, labor costs decline. These costs can be passed on to the consumer, thereby allowing Doty Machine Works to become more competitive with Chinese companies.
Miller is committed to her goal of bringing more manufacturing back to the region. She buys equipment from U.S. companies whenever possible and purchased the vertical milling machine from Great Lakes Machining.
Doty Machine Works employs a staff of 45 and offers a variety of manufacturing services. They build, performance test, sandblast, and paint machines. They also rebuild and repair hydraulic systems and rotating equipment. Before Miller purchased the company, Miller Mechanical was one of its customers.
“They did a lot of our machining, and they had an absentee owner,” she said. “We purchased it and put a huge amount of investment into the building and into the machinery there. Not only to do our machining but do it for others as well and to keep 45 good-paying jobs in the area.”
Many of the Doty’s employees are skilled machinists, a field in which a serious labor shortage exists. Miller recognized this problem almost immediately after purchasing the machine shop.
“When we got there, it was a huge problem in that most of the men that were there were amazing machinists, but were all of the same age group. It was really scary,” she said. “Fortunately, we were able to work with Bruce Hoffman from the (WSWHE) BOCES center as well as with the adult machining center over there.”
By Christine Graf