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Company plans to double workforce

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GREENFIELD — Bastian Automation Engineering’s Greenfield operation has announced an expansion the company says will double its local workforce by 2016.

The company originally intended to lease approximately 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space in a building at 315 W. New Road that was purchased in August by one of Bastian’s affiliated companies, Bastian Development.

However, a tenant was found for that entire property, and now the company is looking to expand on its campus at 2155 Fields Blvd.  

“It’s a little up in the air,” said plant manager Jason Effing. “We’ll have to have more internal discussions, but we really have no alternative but to expand.”

The company specializes in custom material handling solutions for a variety of industries ranging from aerospace, automotive manufacturing, distribution and warehousing to pharmaceuticals; however, the new expansion will increase Bastian’s capacity to manufacture and inventory a standard catalogue of conveying solutions geared toward warehouses and logistics companies.

“Last year, our custom business made up about 90 percent of our business, but our projections for this year take the standard products to about 30 percent, and we think it will grow to about 50-50 over the next couple years,” Effing said.

“You’ve got to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run, but we’re walking pretty fast right now, and we think we’ll see exponential growth over the next three to five years,” he said.

Bastian’s growth has already fueled jobs, and more slots are slated to be filled in the coming year.

“Last year we added about 12 new jobs, and my (employment) budget for next year is in the low 20s,” Effing said.

The company also plans to add to what is currently a skeleton crew on its night shift to make more efficient use of its resources.

Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said the move was a cooperative effort between the company and state and local economic development officials and is a positive sign for Hancock County’s economy.

“As always, we look forward to working with Bastian in its continued expansion,” Kuker said. “It’s further evidence that Greenfield is a great place to work and expand business.”

The company has not requested any economic incentives or tax breaks to aid the expansion; however, if and when such requests are made, HEDC would become involved, Kuker said.

The company’s announcement continues a string of steady good news into 2014 for Bastian.

Named one of the Indianapolis area’s fastest-growing companies for four of the last five years running, Bastian was listed among the state’s top 33 companies to watch in July by the Indiana Economic Development Council.

Bastian joined six other Hoosier companies in December that announced expansion plans for 2014, capping a solid year of growth for Indiana business.

According to the Indiana Economic Development Council, 261 companies committed to investments totaling more than $2.6 billion and creating more than 21,000 jobs in the state.

Bastian initially entered the market as Blue Arc Engineering, moved to Mt. Comfort in 2005 and then to its current location in 2007. In 2012, the company changed its name to Bastian Automation Engineering. With continued growth in sales, employees and infrastructure, the company is eyeing the horizon for further expansion opportunities.

Its largest customer is Indianapolis-based Bastian Solutions, which integrates the local company’s products into much larger systems.

Bastian Solutions is a privately held company that dates to 1952 that now has a global reach, with satellite offices throughout North and South America, the Middle East and Pacific.

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