Multimillion-dollar machines that make parts for automobiles, spaceships, agricultural equipment and medical devices are making their way across the world after first being customized in Franklin.
Heartland Machine and Engineering engineers and sells heavy-duty machines that are used in factories to make parts for cars or hospitals, and customizes those machines for manufacturing lines. About 45 employees, mostly engineers, work on every aspect of the machines — from customization to selling the final product.
Companies around the world can use the machines and parts in their aerospace, medical, automobile and agricultural manufacturing businesses.
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Business has been booming for the nearly 5-year-old company. Earlier this month, residents and overseas businesspeople toured the most recent 20,000-square-foot building that was completed less than a month ago. The expansion cost about $1.3 million but will bring the company an estimated $20 million in sales annually and create another seven jobs, president and owner Tom Goin said.
When Heartland wanted to expand in 2013, city officials approved a 10-year tax break on the building expansion. The property taxes will be phased in by 10 percentage points each year.
By having Heartland in Franklin, customers from nearby companies such as NSK Corp. and Cummins or businesses overseas such as Samsung are coming to Johnson County.
“His businesses is more than just Franklin. It’s extremely global,” Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness said. “That’s crucial for our future.”
Businesspeople from China and Korea traveled to Franklin last week to see the machines, and the equipment will end up in factories around the world. Having this type of manufacturing company in Franklin helps strengthen the city’s relationship with international markets, Johnson County Development Corp. Executive Director Cheryl Morphew said.
“He’s exposing our communities, and he’s exposing Indiana to international companies,” Morphew said.
One of the machines that Heartland now has enough room to keep on-site is from DMC, which makes machines for Hyundai and Samsung. Now, if an Asian manufacturer wants to see how a machine works, Goin can give a demonstration without shipping one overseas. He instead has his security camera system set up to send a live feed over the Internet. The manufacturer can see how the machines are used and how they could improve their business, Goin said.
Heartland offers basic models of machinery but can customize them to meet a company’s needs, whether the machine makes parts for an orthopedic surgeon or for a vehicle.
The technology and engineering behind the machines draws students, too, Goin said. Central Nine Career Center and Indiana State University have scheduled tours this month to expose students to the advanced machinery.
“We prefer to be seen more as an engineering firm that provides machining solutions and automation than a machine tool distributor,” Goin said.
If a factory in China needs a machine that will make specific parts for a car or truck, Heartland can create custom plates for the machine that are as accurate to the width of a human hair.
Just five years ago, the business didn’t exist. Goin had worked at another manufacturing company for 30 years then decided to start Heartland on his own. Goin lives on the border of Johnson and Shelby counties, and he found Franklin the best location for the business.
The company started in a 2,700-square-foot building on RJ Parkway then moved to a 12,000-square-foot building on Graham Road in 2012. By 2013, the business was ready to expand again, adding a 20,000-square-foot facility next door.
The company now does between $35 million and $40 million in sales per year, up from $7 million in 2011. Another expansion is planned in two or three years.
Goin said he predicts another $20 million will be added to the annual sales due to the 20,000-square-foot addition.
“$20 million in their fourth or fifth year means that they’re obviously growing exponentially, and that’s a great thing,” McGuinness said.
The building opened less than a month ago, but machines have been purchased at such a rapid rate that Heartland has been able to make $6 million in the past month, Goin said. Millions of dollars worth of parts and machine inventory are available on site at Heartland, while machines ranging from $10,000 to $2.5 million are for sale. The machinery could be going down the road to NSK Corp. or as far away as China.
“We cannot address 100 percent of the market, but we can address 90 percent of the market at 70 percent of the price. That’s our goal,” Goin said. “That’s a win for the customer.”
Heartland Machine and Engineering has opened a 20,000-square-foot building expansion.
Here’s a look at the business:
- Founded in August 2010
- $35 million to $40 million in revenue per year
- 45 employees, mostly requiring engineering degrees or certification in skills such as machining or welding
- Builds machines and sells parts for manufacturing, aerospace, agricultural and medical companies