MYSTIC — Acme Wire Products, a manufacturer of custom-engineered wire products such as racks, baskets and frames, recently received an $8,680 grant from the state’s Manufacturing Voucher Program.
Mary Fitzgerald, president, said the money helped Acme to purchase a robotic stretch-wrapper that will allow the company to automate more of its packaging functions and better use several workers who were previously doing the job of the wrapper.
“It is helping us improve efficiency and throughput, optimize the use of packaging materials and reduce injuries and damages in shipping,” she said. “We use it every day and it’s helping us to be more effective and productive overall. It saves us 20 person-hours a week.”
The grant process went so smoothly and quickly for Acme that Fitzgerald said the company is applying for the same grant for next year. Although she said she couldn’t disclose exactly what the company is seeking funding for, she said it would help it complete portions of the manufacturing process in-house rather than contracting the work to outside companies.
The grant program has a total pool of $10.5 million and is part of the $70 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which Connecticut started to keep its advanced-manufacturing sector among the best in the world.
The mission of the fund is to fill the gap in the economy for local manufacturers who are expected to upgrade equipment and retrain staff so they can increase output, said Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
“These funds will help companies make those investments so they are ready to take on that new contract,” she said. “This comprehensive, strategic approach keeps Connecticut manufacturers and supply chains one step ahead of the competition.”