ABTech in Fitzwilliam
Photo By: Jesse LaBarre

ABTech started and was founded by Ken Abbott in 1998, in Fitzwilliam, with a goal to achieve successful air bearing machines. ABTech makes metrology gages, air bearing rotary tables, and turnkey multi-axis systems which are all designed and manufactured right in the shop itself, no out-sourcing. When first entering the business there is a very interesting map displaying all the different areas that ABTech reaches and all the multiple countries and even has a product in outer space in a satellite. The facility was very tight-knit, and there is a warm feeling among employees. A couple things I noticed was that the machines that these employees make their product on are not the newest machines, they are classic machines which means that the employees must be very skilled and knowledgeable about what they are making and how the finished product should be and act. The air bearing rotors are made to sit on granite tables for the most balanced surface then the rotor measures the roundness of an object by using a probe that is suspended above the rotor. ABTech makes a majority of its products for engine makers to the airline industry, a large customer is GE Aviation which then goes on to supply Boeing and Delta Airline. Talking with Ken Abbott, he is very determined to keep a happy and joyful work environment and to make strong relationships between employees and foster respect among everyone in the shop. He strives for good customer service and flexibility with the design details with the customers and can do this with success, due to the size of his operation and the fact that he manufactures his product in house. ABTech helps our local economy greatly by staying privately owned and denying the big buyout by large corporations, ABTech fits in well with the precision sector of our De/Industrialization class by showing that the technological change is not affecting ABTech but rather helping it. It proves that these manufacturing employees are actually very knowledgeable and educated about there product and can create advance machines.

69 Island street, Keene, NH
Photo By: Jesse LaBarre

Corning, Incorporated is a large corporation based out of Corning, NY. The Corning facility here in Keene is a unique department of Corning known for specializing in advanced optics using special materials and is one of only a few that do this for Corning. The plant is rather large, which was interesting to me since it does not look that big on the outside. One thing I noticed in Corning was that there are many employees, all doing many different things in many different machine areas to complete the product. In the machine department, the machinists seemed very into their work and very proud of what they create. The culture there was rather big business oriented and seemed to be a larger gap among employees than some of the other manufacturing companies that I had visited this year. Corning is a great example to counter-argue the theory that rural America cannot keep up with the technology change, one of their biggest customers is the United States Military, purchasing these optics for drone use and surveillance. This was interesting to me because the more we go into these Keene manufacturing jobs it seems to be that a lot of Keene has produced and been a big part of the military, either in the past or present such as Corning.