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Air Technical Industries soars to 50 years
Clete Campbell
Clete Campbell

The International Space Station orbits Earth from 210 miles above its surface, studying the planet and the solar system's biological present and future. The world's most important artificial satellite is outfitted with parts lifted into place by Air Technical Industries.

A company that launched as a modest endeavor in blue collar Mentor, Ohio in 1964 is now a cutting edge enterprise that cranks out more hits than Derek Jeter. From the ISS to major power plants to banks to the U.S. Military to mom and pop small town material handling companies, ATI is meeting the needs of an extremely large and varied assortment of American and international companies. Not bad for a 40-person company that was just a big dreaming upstart trying to get a foot in the door of an extremely challenging and competitive industry 50 years ago.

The great companies never stop thinking, never stop working to deliver a higher performance product and deliver better service for their customers. ATI epitomizes a company that never stops trying to become better tomorrow than it is today. ATI's product catalog is thicker than the phone book and measures over 2,000 products. This year, ATI is celebrating 50 years of innovative solutions.

“I would attribute the continued success over the years to two related factors,” ATI vice president Vida Novak said. “One is that we are open and flexible with our customers. We are 'YES' people. If a customer has some special requirements or wants changes made to our specific product designs, we are happy to modify or customize anything to fit the customers' specific needs.

“The other factor is the continuous development of new products. We are always coming up with new ideas, new products, new markets, and this has helped us keep up with the times. This is proven by the fact that more than 50 percent of our current sales are for products that we have developed over the past 10-15 years.”

ATI's product research and service departments do take a day off here and there. But the lights never really go off in this extremely forward-thinking company.

“Even our prototypes have a backlog and we have quite a few unrealized dreams that may yet come to fruition,” Novak said.

The ATI formula for success merges the latest technology and the newest equipment with dedicated personnel to produce some of the material handling industry's finest equipment.

ATI's work can be found in the most unique of places. The Fort Worth National Bank was constructed with the help of ATI's Super-Master Floor Crane with a Man-3000 manipulator.   When the U.S. Military needed help for the integration of a helicopter blade testing system, it called on an ATI gargantuan tandem scissor lift table designed specifically for the job for assistance. The original Zero-Low Scissors Lift Table hit the market in the early 1990s and took the company into a new orbit of success. Novak calls the Zero-Low Scissors Lift Table's introduction one of the “renaissance moments in our company history. This product received a rapid acceptance in the market and sales really took off,” Novak said.

One of ATI's most recent groundbreaking products is its unique telescopic mast articulating crane. Constructed mostly from aluminum, the crane debuted in 2012 at a California nuclear power plant which used it for replacing the fuel rods in combustion engineering reactors rated at 1100 Mwe supplying electricity for 1.4 million homes. “Not exactly a process you see at your typical American manufacturing plant!” Novak said.

The modular design of the crane's unique features include its telescopic mast that can raise up to 57 feet high, its hydraulically operated telescopic action, a 300-degree powered mast rotation with a soft start and stop for smooth boom travel, and a beam rotation equipped with a mechanical slip-clutch which enables it to break away to avoid damage in the event the crane comes in contact with other objects or is subject to excessive side-loading.

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