Growth Through New and Old Technologies

Growth Through New and Old Technologies

Toth Technologies
Pennsauken, N.J.
www.tothtech.com
Number of employees – 36
2007 sales – $5 million
Markets served – Communications, telecommunications, and aerospace

Three Generations

Three generations of machinists. Ted Toth Sr. and his brother, Lou (seated), the second generation of owners of Toth Technologies. Standing: Melissa, who represents the fourth generation of the family, and Tim, Ted Jr., and Tom, the third generation of the family.

Embracing technology has kept Toth Technologies competitive for its 59 years.

The company had its first numerically controlled machine in 1965 and its first CNC machine 10 years later. It added a computer-aided manufacturing system in 1978.

Besides technology, the thirdgeneration shop has relied on long-term employees and family members and came back from the brink of disaster in the 1990s with a business plan developed by a family member.

Keeping up with and adopting the appropriate technologies has helped the job shop keep its competitive edge.

However, Ted Toth Jr., president of the company, pointed out that the most suitable technology is not always the most current, and so the shop combines new with old.

Each of the shop’s machinists has computers and individual programming systems. Toth said that alone has doubled their output. And, those computers connect to any of the nearly 25 production machine tools in the shop through a traditional switchboard. The switchboard ensures that the computer connects only to the intended machine, which prevents crashes.

“In the past, we had manual milling machines with digital readouts for manufacturing prototypes. We upgraded those readouts with two-axis CNC controls, and this year, we will provide a few of our machinists three-axis tool-room mills to run alongside their two-axis machines. This should increase their output by 50 percent,” Toth said.

Toth Technologies was founded in 1948 by Ted Toth Jr.’s grandfather. Louis Toth’s first customer was the RCA Co., from which he was recently laid off, and his first employee was Ted Toth Sr.

The shop still does work for the remnants of RCA and provides parts to many aerospace and communications companies and other Fortune 100 companies. Toth Technologies focuses on a niche market: precision machining of communications equipment used in the aerospace and other industries. Its lot sizes vary from 1 to 5,000 pieces.

Toth Technologies cuts parts from engineering plastics, aluminum, kovar, Invar, titanium, and magnesium. It sees scrap rates of about 1.36 percent.

The company machines and assembles complex telecommunications products, many of which are one-piece items developed for space flights. Several of its products orbit the earth, and one is on Mars as part of the Martian land rover that was launched in 1979.

Ted Toth Sr. has been on the company’s payroll for 59 years and now serves as chairman and chief operating officer of the family business. Ted Toth Sr. and his wife, Nancy, have eight children and 10 grandchildren, and many of them and their spouses work at the shop.

Ted Jr.’s brothers, Tim and Tom, also work at the shop. Tim is vice president for sales, and Tom is vice president for purchasing and shipping. In addition, the company employs their sister, Trudi Wilson, who is in charge of its assembly operations, and Debbie, who is responsible for the shop’s accounting, Bob Moorehead, the son of another sister, Debbe, who is not working at the shop, and Melissa and Beth Toth, who are working their ways through college at the shop.

In addition to the immediate family members, the shop has three employees who have worked there for more than 45 years, including John Harden, an 80-year-old who is semiretired, but reports in two to three times a week. And, several of its 18 machinists represent the second or third generation of their families who have worked with the Toths.

Ted Toth Jr. noted that the company pays for all of its employees’ benefits, and that contributes to the longevity of its employees and to the fact that new employees come from the same families.

“It’s less expensive to pick-up 100 percent of my employees’ benefits than to train a new employee,” he said.

In addition, Toth said he has gained valuable information from his membership in the National Tooling and Machining Association.

“The National Tooling and Machining Association is as good as a higher education. There is no better learning than from experience,” he said.

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