Chamber of Commerce member runs successful, local machining company
October 11, 2023
By Lynn and Nancy Neuhaus
Have you ever wondered what goes on inside Sanks Machining new building? Owner, Dustin Sanks, successfully moved the business his father started to its new location on the southwest side of Staunton. The business originally started out as a manufacturer for emergency parts and tools with repair services for local businesses that have unpredicted breakdowns and cannot procure parts as needed to get production back up and running. Dustin likes to describe his business as a manufacturing facility rooted in a small town. They manufacture, build and repair for large corporations in the Defense, Automotive, Medical, Metal Processing, Construction and Textile Industries. They manufacture tool and die parts for the automotive sector. The parts are used for injection mold processes that uses aluminum die casting to make their parts.
In the Defense sector, Sanks Machining provides complete machine builds. Here the customer provides prints or designs, then Sanks manufactures all components, assembles and cycles machine to the customer's acceptance. The machine is painted before shipping it to the customer. No part is too small. In fact, another local business who produces high-end Salon equipment uses multiple precision components manufactured by Sanks Machining. The shop still makes regular use of its manual operated equipment to produce or repair one-off items.
Sanks Machining employs 17 people. Dustin is proud of his young trades people that he employs. He works with John Davin, the shop instructor at Staunton High School, to find students who show an interest in vocational training. Currently, Dustin has 2 high school students who work for him. They come in after school and work until 8:00pm. He shares in their enthusiasm to learn. Dustin has a variety of machines and job assignments to keep their work interesting and allows him to grade their ability to perform the work. He also employs a couple of young Southwestern Illinois College students along with a number of experienced machinist.
The machinery uses modern technology with iPad like devices to program the machines. The machines perform multiple tasks in one program. He has a couple of machines that were currently running unmanned 24 hours a day. The machines are programmed and then loaded with bars of metal used to machine the parts. The Quality Assurance Department uses some of the latest technology to verify the manufactured components meet the customer's specifications.
Sanks Machining provides competitive wages, 401K, medical insurance, profit sharing and a climate controlled clean and organized workspace. Dustin does not have a sales department. He relies on the reputation of the work to provide new opportunities for Sanks Machining. The standard for quality and precision was set very high from the beginning by William Sanks and continues to be raised with new technology and higher customer expectations. Dustin hopes to become ISO Certified in the future, which would allow him to extend into the Aerospace business. Looking ahead he hopes to expand his business and see his succession plan for the business come to fruition.