MANUFACTURING: MTC Transformers
- April 30, 2009
Who says newer is better?
MTC Transformers has powered its business using the century-old technology of electrical transformers. They’ve been around since the turn of the 20th century, used to control the voltage of electricity as it makes its way from power plants to the places we live, work and play.
MTC builds and services transformers for electric companies, mass transit systems, the mining industry, the military and other users.
As newer technologies developed, larger companies left the transformer business behind because of low demand and high overhead. But as the nation’s electrical grid ages, there’s now an increasing need for replacement transformers, creating an opportunity for MTC to thrive.
“This is not new technology. It’s a niche market that no one plays in anymore. There aren’t many people who are geared up to do it,” explains Tom Hough, MTC’s president.”
MTC, formerly known as Magnetic Technologies Corp., was founded in 1985 in Wytheville by two engineers and their wives, who set up shop in a garage and built small transformers for the coal-mining industry.
Hough purchased the company in 1998. Since then he’s grown its offerings and customer base. For example, MTC now supplies shipboard transformers for the Navy and “rewinds” (remanufactures) liquid-filled transformers for utility companies.
MTC makes transformers that keep mass transit systems flowing in New York City and Los Angeles. They help run equipment and lighting for miners deep under ground.
Then there’s the important role MTC plays in keeping the nation’s lights on. About 25 percent of all transformers on the electrical grid are past their lifespan. MTC remanufactures these aging transformers, so they can be put back into service for another 30 to 60 years.
“This is a product that, although it’s not simple or exciting, is very, very necessary and important to our electrical infrastructure,” says Dan Day, MTC’s sales manager. “Everybody takes for granted that when they turn on a light switch the lights are going to come on. The transformer steps it up to high voltage or steps it down to get it to our homes and businesses.”
2009 Fantastic 50 | MANUFACTURING: MTC Transformers