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Industrial computer firm expanding for entry into the border states market.

Industrial computer firm expanding for entry into the border states market

An industrial computer manufacturer in Thunder Bay is set for an expansion which will double its plant size and increase production.

The $270,000 expansion project for Digital Engineering Inc. is slated for this spring.

"Right now we are looking to build or relocate. We need about 4,000 square feet which will house more equipment and increase production," explains majority shareholder Bill Fauconnier.

Because of increased production Fauconnier also expects to hire several more people in the next two years.

Digital Engineering designs, manufactures and services industrial control systems and computers for paper mills, utility companies, lumber mills and grain elevators.

"We started by repairing circuit boards for self-serve gas consoles and elevators. There wasn't anyone servicing these computer systems, and clients were forced to send their equipment to Toronto or the U.S. for repair," recalls Fauconnier. He says these industrial computers were neither being designed nor made in Canada either.

Within four years Digital Engineering was not only servicing industrial computer systems, but also designing and manufacturing them. Today, the company designs and manufactures industrial computers for paper mills throughout northwestern Ontario, elevators, lumber mills and utility companies. It sells 45 products which are manufactured on a continuous basis.

Digital Engineering has started exporting its products to customers in France, England and the United States.

"So far we've exported our products in limited quantities, but we're ready for increased exporting soon. This summer we will concentrate on the border states," says Fauconnier.

One of the Digital's more popular products is the company's peak load controller and energy management system. The system measures and controls power costs for paper mills. Fauconnier says one outfitted mill is now saving $100,000 per month because of this control system.

Although Digital Engineering has been successful in manufacturing, Fauconnier believes there is still a great need for more Canadian-made products.

"We'd better do a lot more research and development if Canada wants to be successful. Relatively few products are being made here, and we can't afford to rely solely on the service sector," says Fauconnier. "We don't have enough Canadian-made products to showcase in the world markets. Yet, ironically, as a country we demand and buy a lot."

PHOTO : Industrial computer manufacturer Digital Engineering Inc. of Thunder Bay is preparing for an expansion which will double the company's plant size and increase production.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Report on Construction; Digital Engineering Inc.
Author:Rapino, Robin
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:403
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