Large And In Charge

FALCONER – With a $930,500 check for an AL Tech Loan, Rand Machine Products Inc. is well on its way to completing its expansion plans.

County Executive Greg Edwards, along with staff from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, traveled to Rand Machine Products recently. There, they saw how the first phase of Rand’s long-term expansion plans was completed.

“The Ruhlman family has been a pleasure to work with throughout the process that has taken several years,” Edwards said. “The last time we visited, there were simply footers in the ground connecting the two buildings on either side, and now we stand in this 10,000 square foot new building designed to support the Mori Seiki-NT-6000 CNC Mill/Turn Center and Coordinate Measuring Machine.”

The CNC Machine will allow Rand to work on very large products. According to Jason Ruhlman, general manager of Rand, the machine is one of only a handful in the country.

“It’s been a couple years coming, as far as getting here,” Ruhlman said. “There have been a lot of roadblocks in the way.”

Ruhlman’s father, Herm Ruhlman, took over Rand Machine in 1980. The business has been in operation since 1949. And, it was Ruhlman’s father who wanted to acquire the CNC Machine.

“I had an opportunity to work with my dad,” Ruhlman said. “I’m very blessed to be able to do that, because we not only talk business, we talk life and death and everything in between.”

After traveling to Japan, the equipment was purchased. However, due to its size – with the CNC mill-turn center machine alone measuring 40 feet long and 15 feet wide by 15 feet high – the machine had to travel to the United States via boat. Once it arrived, it was taken to Erie, Pa., where it stayed for nearly a year-and-a-half, according to Ruhlman.

“That’s where the heartache, blood, sweat and tears comes into this,” he said. “It was in storage for a year-and-a-half, waiting for a home.”

In the meantime, the new facility was being built on Rand’s grounds, complete with two 10-ton cranes installed to support the CNC machine. According to Ruhlman, a piece of steel measuring up to 20 feet long and 42 inches in diameter can easily be accommodated.

“This machine is a world-class machine,” he said.

In the process of getting the machine, though, Rand has worked up some large costs. The total project cost was more than $4,600,000. The CCIDA worked closely with Five Star Bank and the New York Business Development Council to put together the financing package.

Rand Machine Products Inc. is a custom contract manufacturing service. They machine and assemble a variety of products per customer drawings, such as railroad, pipeline couplings, defense work, mining industry, hospital and medical equipment and decorative brass hardware.

Additionally, the company currently employs 104 full-time employees. The project will create 10 new jobs at Rand.