Acutec Precision Aerospace

Acutec Precision Aerospace hosted more than 350 engineers and researchers Tuesday night at its manufacturing facility at the Crawford Business Park. The company hosted the tour as part of the 2019 International Advanced Manufacturing Research Conference being held in Erie this week.

VERNON TOWNSHIP — More than 350 engineers and researchers from around the globe were given a chance to see the theoretical in practice.

Those who descended on Acutec Precision Aerospace Tuesday night at the Crawford Business Park in Vernon Township are attending the 2019 International Advanced Manufacturing Research Conference in Erie this week.

Researchers and engineers from more than 30 countries are attending the conference which is billed as the foremost international forum for applied research and manufacturing innovation. Hosted by Penn State Erie, The Behrend College this week at the Bayfront Convention Center, the conference has the latest manufacturing innovations and developments in manufacturing, cyber-physical systems and materials processing.

In addition to workshops, expert panel sessions and exhibitions, the conference is featuring optional tours of five leading manufacturers in the region like Acutec. The company makes components and subassemblies for aerospace and space industries companies. It has a data inventory of 8,500 parts and assembles that it makes.

"A lot of researchers and engineers are focused in one specific research area," Elisabeth Smith, Acutec's president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday night. "I think it's important they see research in action and how manufacturers apply technologies."

Even though a company like Acutec may have 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space, it's challenging at times to manage the wide variety of technologies available and in use by the company, Smith said.

"We don't have the benefit of being able to focus on one thing and optimize it to its fullest," Smith said regarding balancing the use of different technologies in a manufacturing setting. "We have to juggle that with other priorities. We're putting theory into practice."

In addition to Acutec, tours are being offered to conference attendees at the Erie manufacturing firms of Berry Global, Eriez Magnetics, McInness Rolled Rings and Modern Industries.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

React to this story: