CHICKASHA – One of the city’s largest employers has expanded its operations outside state lines.
HSI Sensing added three Wisconsin engineers to its payroll after being approached by the Badger State residents. The engineers are the first employees at the company’s 5,800-square-foot development lab in Madison. HSI expects to have at least 10 employees there, and will add staff over the next two to three years.
“These guys brought a lot of experience to us,” said Travis Posey, company vice president. “Several of the plans we had in our pipeline they will be able to ramp up significantly. They’re going to be working on a lot of things that will enhance our manufacturing technology and efficiencies.”
HSI Sensing manufactures reed switches and proximity sensors. A reed switch is a glass tube with pieces of metal inside. When the metals sense a magnet, they close and complete an electrical circuit. The device is used in many industries, such as home security, aerospace, oil and gas, and even medical. HSI manufactured the world’s smallest reed switch 12 years ago; it is used in a pacemaker.
Posey said the reed switch is a battery-saving device, as it uses no power in its off state.
But the switch is delicate to make, so HSI makes its switches by hand. Product demand is continuing to increase, so the company needs to get them out faster. The engineers at the Madison office will design techniques that can help address that issue. The office opened in July, and Posey said he and his cousin, Ryan Posey, the company’s president, have been impressed with the engineers’ work.
All the products designed in Wisconsin will be created or implemented at the HSI Sensing manufacturing facility in Chickasha. The company employs 200 people.
Chickasha Economic Development Council President Christy Elkins said she is excited about the company’s expansion into Wisconsin.
“Anything that’s going to make HSI stronger and have more market share is just wonderful,” she said.
Elkins said people in the community likely do not realize that the company reaches so many industries.
“I think we as a community need to get the word out a little better about what our businesses actually do in the world,” she said. “It’s something to be very proud of.”
Posey said HSI isn’t finished solving problems in different trades. In the last two years, the company doubled its engineer count to 10 in order to get more products on the market. From 2001 to 2013, the company had released only the small reed switch. But since 2013, it has created two new products, with another in development.
“We wanted to be able to encompass other sensor technology out there,” he said. “When a customer comes to us with a problem, we don’t want to just give a reed-switch solution. We want to have a full tool belt of sensor technology.”