Thomas Instrumentation – Instrumental to Success
Thomas Instrumentation offers a complete electronics one-stop shop, adapting to whatever circumstances are thrown at it.
From simple electronics to complex embedded control systems, Thomas Instrumentation has been designing and manufacturing the full range of electronics products for as long as it has been in business. This family-owned and operated firm, with its small, highly trained staff, has been offering a competitive edge to its customers for nearly half a century.
The company was established by Thomas Gluyas who studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan and gained experience through the university at their Willow Run Labs and Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii facilities. After leaving the university, Thomas Gluyas designed, tested, and installed some of the first programmable logic controllers for a small company in Michigan. While working there, he noticed a need for other speciality electronics which lead him to start his own business.
Thomas Instrumentation was founded in 1971 as a one-stop shop for anyone in need of custom electronic controllers. One side of the business offers electrical engineering, PCB layout, and software development services, while the other provides high-quality electronic manufacturing services from prototype to large volume orders. Customers select individual services or an all-in-one approach. Thomas Instrumentation is defined by end-to-end service, excellent customer service, superior quality, and the kind of experience that can only come from servicing such a wide array of industries.
“We have all of our services under one roof. For most customers, electronics are like magic that makes their product work,” says Cassandra Gluyas, CEO of Thomas Instrumentation. “It can be hard for them to communicate their project specifications when talking to the design team. Most providers do not have everything in one place, so the customer must reiterate these requirements to many different companies. It’s a headache and a drain on time and resources.”
This is a problem that Thomas Instrumentation can overcome not only because it has all the necessary skills and equipment in house, but also because the people with those skills and tools are in constant communication with each other.
“With us, you tell us your needs once and we coordinate all the requirements between our design, software and manufacturing teams,” Gluyas says. “Tell us what you need and we handle all other aspects of the project making your life easier.”
Working with What They Have
This year is a special one for Thomas Instrumentation, marking 50 years since the company was founded. It is a good time to look back at how far the business has come, and the challenges it has had to work through to get here.
“We have seen a lot of challenges over those 50 years, with labour shortages and the pandemic among the most recent, but our biggest challenge has probably been the current component shortage,” Gluyas admits. “It is affecting all industries making it difficult to design and manufacture electronics.”
The semiconductor shortage has been felt across nearly every industry, even ones that do not use electronic circuits in their components will depend on sectors that do. Fortunately, Thomas Instrumentation’s vertically integrated set-up has meant it is uniquely capable of navigating these challenges.
“We’ve been able to protect our current customers because of the kind of company we are,” Gluyas points out. “Our on-site engineers can provide instant recommendations for replacement parts or redesign the product for a different component altogether. Our purchasing department has component supplier information which tells us what parts are available or have shorter lead times so we can tailor new designs to those parts.”
The company has also invested heavily in making sure it has the right tools and equipment available. Gluyas tells us, “We’ve really invested in our equipment. We have top of the line manufacturing equipment on-site capable of handling all size components. It gives us the flexibility to offer services for almost any project. We also have brand new X-ray inspection and automated optical inspection to drive home the quality aspect of the business. Our focus is always on high quality, high-reliability solutions.”
Going the Extra Mile
As well as a facility well stocked with the very latest technology, Gluyas puts Thomas Instrumentation’s ability to adapt to these challenges down to two key elements, its flexibility and the combined expertise of its team.
“We’ve been lucky to find great employees who’ve been with us for years. They go the extra mile to the best of their ability, no matter what is happening in the world,” she says. “We’ve thrived through the challenges.”
For Gluyas, the key to putting that team together lies not in qualifications or an impressive CV, but the personality of potential recruits.
“We hire based more on their character than skill set,” she says. “We find it is more important to find traits like carefulness, interest in learning, and dedication, than solely what skills they can currently provide us. With the right mindset, anyone can be taught the job. While we do invest in our staff, the most important thing is not to treat them like staff. We treat them like family, value them as individuals, offer on the job training and reimbursement for education courses. We compensate them well.”
Moving forward, Gluyas wants to achieve more of the same, building Thomas Instrumentation’s capacity to do what it does, while looking to see how it can do more.
“In the future, I’d like to grow our capacity so we can add more production lines to the manufacturing side of the business,” Gluyas says. “We also want to expand our design services to include mechanical engineering. As electrical engineers, we often interface with mechanical devices, so we would like the resources to take on that side of projects too. We want to expand the idea of being a one-stop-shop for total projects.”
As the company expands its capacity and its offering, it will continue to be a valuable ally for its customers.