3/29/2018 – Aiken Controls announces expansion plans in Lenoir

Posted on: March 29th, 2018 by admin


March 29, 2018


By Virginia Annable
(Lenoir) News-Topic


An advanced technology developer in Lenoir is planning to expand its footprint and operations.


Aiken Controls, which designs manufacturing control panels, scanners and sensors, plans to double its main office in downtown Lenoir, owner Chris Aiken said.


The company moved in to its current 15,000-square-foot building on West Avenue in 2016 after extensive renovations. Now, an addition of a similar size is in store on an adjacent vacant lot.


“What we’re trying to do it expand and have a place to do set-up and testing,” Aiken said.


In the new building, there would be space for a permanent testing area — essentially a showroom for the technology Aiken Controls produces. Right now, if Aiken wants to show a potential customer how a piece of equipment works, other equipment has to be moved around to make room for the demonstration.


“We’re growing out of our space,” Aiken said.


The exact plans for the building haven’t started yet because Aiken is considering including an upper floor of residential apartments.


“We’re excited about the possibility, and the city is excited about the possibility, so we’re working with them right now,” he said.


Aiken expects the addition to be done in about two years, but in the meantime the company continues expanding its business.


Over the past year, Aiken Controls has been adding products. A 3-D sensor that identifies the contents of a box and confirms all the pieces are inside that are supposed to be there, which was tested last year by Ikea, now is in regular use by five companies.


In Oregon, Aiken is designing a system to cut massive pieces of wood to make prefabricated wall panels for houses. The machine will cut 12-by-65-foot pieces of plywood up to 2 feet thick, then cut door and window holes, and all the pieces then fit together.


“It’s basically like giant Lincoln Logs,” Aiken said.


Aiken is in the process of bringing on two additional employees, too, which he’s been hoping to do since moving in to the current office space in 2016.


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