A company that has been making handheld alloy analyzers for nearly 30 years was named 2012 Manufacturer of the Year at the Smartmap Expo at TRAC Sept. 27.
“We are delighted to be the Smartmap Expo 2012 Manufacturer of the Year,” said John H. Landefeld, Bruker Elemental executive vice president. “It is a great honor to be recognized as one of the leading manufacturing companies in the Pacific Northwest—a great compliment to our management and employees.
Bruker Elemental, which is now owned by Bruker Corporation (NASDAQ-BRKR), started out in 1982 as a company called Scitec. Scitec was purchased by another company called C-Thru, which was eventually bought in 2000 by KeyMaster Technologies, a small, private-equity backed company.
KeyMaster took the technology the company was using to create its handheld analyzers, which look kind of like a radar gun, and developed a new platform. KeyMaster grew the company from $20 million worldwide in 2000 to $200 million in 2009.
KeyMaster’s success led to the company being purchased by Bruker Corporation in 2006 and being renamed Bruker AXS.
KeyMaster started with about 15 employees in an incubator building near Vista Field, designing and assembling the portable alloy analyzing devises, which were mostly used for mining and environmental uses, like screening for lead paint. The powerful, portable handheld tools shoot X-rays into materials and measure the electrons the materials emit in response. Each element reacts differently, allowing the devices to detect not only which elements are in a material, but how much of the element, as well. In 2002, NASA started using KeyMaster’s device to test rocket and spacecraft parts from the assembly line to the launch pad to detect any gaps or weaknesses that could lead to equipment failure.
The company’s acquisition by Bruker helped it growth and become more competitive in the market.
In April, Bruker introduced its new S1 Titan handheld XRF analyzer. The new product is one of the lightest on the market and covers a wide range of applications and materials, from aerospace and automotive to recycling and scrap sorting. In addition, the new S1 Titan is available configured specifically to analyze precious metals, offering quick and easy way to measure the value of gold jewelry.
The company manufactures its alloy analyzers at its 22,000-sq.-ft. at 415 N. Quay St. in Kennewick’s Vista Field.
More than 1,000 people attended the 10th Annual Smartmap Expo, which featured nearly 120 exhibitors. The annual manufacturing expo is produced by the Tri-City Development Council.
Harry C. Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, was the keynote speaker and presenter at the event, which had a theme this year of “Bringing Manufacturing Back to the U.S.”
Moser said many U.S. companies don’t recognize the profit potential of using local product sourcing and production. Moser said that not only can those practices increase their profits, but also help them strengthen the economy.
Moser said manufacturing costs in China and other areas where U.S. companies have outsourced, are on the rise, making “reshoring” viable.
Reshoring has yielded about 50,000 manufacturing jobs, according to a Reshoring Initiative. Moser said 61 percent of the large companies surveyed by the Reshoring Initiative are considering bringing their manufacturing back to the U.S.
For more information about the Smartmap Expo, contact Gary A. White, TRIDEC business retention and expansion, at 735-1000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.