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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 21, 2019 3 weeks ago

When it comes to growth, tech firm is on autopilot

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Robotics maker expands, again, to keep up with demand from tech sector.

St. Petersburg-based manufacturer Hine Automation, in business for just a decade, has expanded again. The designer and maker of automation systems and robotic components added 5,700 square feet to its existing facility at 12495 34th St. N., upping its total footprint to 12,445 square feet.

In a press release, Hine says growing demand for its services from automotive and wearable technology manufacturers drove the expansion — the firm’s fourth since it was founded in 2009.

“Design for manufacturability has drastically reduced our product build times,” states Karl Pearson, the firm’s operations director, in the release. “Now the expanded capacity allows us to add clean room areas to support increasing customer technical specifications for particle control, and provides room for a dedicated engineering facility.”

Karl Pearson. Courtesy photo.

Pearson tells Coffee Talk the company has also boomed thanks to a surge in business from the semiconductor industry. As more and more products become controlled by computer chips, new markets have opened for Hine’s robotic systems that are crucial to handling the sensitive material, known as a “wafer,” to which circuits and other components are attached.

“It goes into everything,” he says of the wafer material. “Phones, lamps, anything that has a sensor … GPS … everything has a microchip.”

As Pearson’s footprint has grown, so has its head count — it now employs 25 people. Though the privately held firm does not disclose revenues, Pearson says sales have been growing 20% year-over-year, and Hine is on track to have a record year, revenue-wise, in 2019.

“Successfully partnering with our customers to deliver innovative solutions for R&D and production needs around the world has resulted in substantial business growth, and we are poised for much more,” CEO Scott Craver adds, via the release. “This expansion will allow us to enhance our offerings to customers and will provide a positive and dynamic environment for our growing team of employees.”

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