Deane Systems celebrating 45th anniversary in business in Grayling
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A business tucked away off of one of Grayling’s main thoroughfares has been helping keep the assembly lines for the Big Three automakers and other manufacturers busy for the last four and a half decades.
Deane Systems LLC is marking its 45th anniversary in business this year.
Owner Gary Ginther started the business as a design service for assembly machines. Today, the firm supplies industrial manufactures with custom feed and drive equipment for assembly line equipment for Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler and for appliance manufacturers.
“We gradually developed the products and this is the results,” Ginther said.
Ginther worked for businesses that designed similar equipment before relocating to Crawford County to launch his own business venture.
“He started this business 45 years ago in his garage and grew it to where we are now,” said Jason Hose, the general manager for Deane Systems.
The equipment feeds and distributes fasteners, bolts, and screws through air tubes and other delivery systems to equipment making the final product.
“If you can orient it and feed it without breaking it, it can be automated,” Ginther said.
A number of years ago, Deane Systems created a niche market for manufacturers of semi trailers, which automates installing rivets on the side panels of the trailers.
“We’ve designed and built a few different variations of that system and now they can have an assembly line that the panels come under and we can place 50 rivets every seven and a half seconds – fully automated with feeders, diverters, and receivers,” Hose said.
Deane Systems currently has 17 employees, and has plans to add to its workforce to help up with the demand for business.
Hose said the company has worked hard at increasing relationships with existing customers and bringing in new customers
“Our product, it sells itself,” Hose said. “A lot of these companies, they want our stuff, and they just have so much experience with ours and ours only. Our product, the reputation is outstanding.”
On site engineers and machinists design everything in house at Deane Systems.
A division of the company also makes and distributers spare parts, which Ginther said is a plus.
“When you have a product that is constantly generating spare parts, that’s a real cushion for your business and that’s a big part of it,” he said.
Equipment is also brought back to Grayling to be rebuilt and retooled.
“We’re the only ones that make our equipment, so the only place they can get replacement parts is through us, because everything we do is custom,” Hose said. “If something wears out or breaks we have a constant flow of replacement.”
While the start of the year has traditionally been slow, that has not been the case this year for Deane Systems.
“This year, we started off and it was just constant work,” Hose said. “We’re going to end the first quarter with about half of the business that we did all of last year for new equipment sales.”
The closest customer for Deane Systems is based in Traverse City, while several other customers are located in southern Michigan and throughout North America. The company has sent some equipment to China.
After starting in Ginther’s garage, Deane Systems was based where Denholn Family Chiropractic is now located for over 20 years.
The business moved to its current home, 402 Huron Street, located between the Crawford County Road Commission and Crawford County Community Christian Help Center.
Hose, who has been the general manager for nearly four years after serving as a plant manager, said a number of people have no idea where the business is located or what they do.
The business has strived to change that through community outreach.
“We really tried to get our name out there and let people know that we are here and we want to do what we can to help our community,” Hose said.
When asked about his thoughts in business for 45 years, Ginther simply replied: “It’s been fun.”
Deane Systems plans to be around for many years to come.
“We’re looking forward the next 45 years,” Hose said.