AWB manufacturing week tour makes stop in Auburn

Tour highlights Motors and Controls; Boeing Additive Manufacturing plant

The 2023 Association of Washington Business (AWB) Manufacturing Week bus tour concluded with stops to employers in Kent and Auburn.

In Kent, the group stopped Oct. 11 at Motors and Controls, a small manufacturer of custom control panels and an electrical distributor, according to an AWB news release. The stop in Auburn was at the Boeing Additive Manufacturing plant, where the company creates thousands of 3D-printed parts and tools for airplanes, satellites and more.

The Boeing Additive Manufacturing plant in Auburn has produced more than 70,000 parts for commercial airplanes and defense and space aircraft, and continues to grow, according to the news release.

Additive manufacturing offers many benefits compared with traditional manufacturing methods. For example, 3D printing is more affordable or faster, and the final product is lighter, stronger and more reliable. Additive manufacturing also uses less material and has a smaller ecological footprint, according to the news release.

Manufacturers employ 91,259 people in King County and pay an average wage of about $104,500, according to AWB.

Second-generation CEO Kyra Castle runs Motors and Controls, started by her father in 1978.

The company, 8030 S. 222nd St., builds equipment for other manufacturers; it makes the control panels for apple bagging machines, flake ice makers and water jet cutters.

“It starts the machinery up correctly, turns things on at different times, and turns things off when they need to be,” Castle said in the news release.

One of the company’s big jobs came during King County’s West Point Treatment Plant failure in 2017 in Seattle. Motors and Controls removed and repaired each panel damaged by flooding and reinstalled the equipment in four days, said Harry Millan, panel shop designer and manager.

Motors and Controls employs 23 between the Kent factory and a second site in Lacey.

AWB, which serves as Washington’s state manufacturing association, tours the state each year in early October to highlight Washington’s innovative and diverse manufacturing firms, and to introduce young people to the careers that are available in modern manufacturing, according to the news release. The tour also advocates for policies to grow the number manufacturing jobs, and call attention to the state’s goal of doubling the number of manufacturing jobs over 10 years.

“The story of Washington manufacturing is an optimistic one, despite the challenges we have all been through the last few years,” AWB President Kris Johnson said. “We make amazing products in Washington, and we send them all over the world. This tour is a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate Washington’s makers, highlight the great career opportunities that exist in manufacturing and call attention to ways we can help grow manufacturing here.”

The tour began Oct. 4 and went through Oct. 11 with stops at more than 20 manufacturers throughout the state.