April 16, 2018
Focus on Manufacturing Excellence

Curtis keeps customers out of the elements

Curtis Industries combined its four Worcester facilities into one West Boylston facility last year.

Imagine working on a tractor in the dead of summer with the sun glaring down on you, or plowing a New England sidewalk in a small front end loader in the middle of winter.

You need to get out of the elements, and that's where Curtis Industries steps in.

The West Boylston company designs, manufactures and distributes cabin enclosures for compact vehicles like tractors, utility vehicles and golf carts.

"You get a pretty good product for the price," said Justin Burch, a salesperson at farm equipment supplier Hugh C. Gardiner in southern Maryland, which uses Curtis cabs.

Business has been booming, so much so the company decided to consolidate its four Worcester facilities into one in West Boylston last year.

Along with the move came a huge upgrade to equipment and infrastructure, including a product code system essentially built into the facility.

"The new facility gives us additional throughput capability," said George Psyhojos, president and CEO of Curtis Industries.

Half of the company's business is supplying cabin enclosures equipped with heating and cooling functions to vehicle manufacturers, and the other half is supplying the products directly to dealers.

Last year, the company developed a cabin enclosure equipped with a new air conditioning system designed for small vehicles.

"It's something we think will revolutionize the business," Psyhojos said.

The company's biggest customer is the golf cart industry. At retirement communities in the South, the carts function as secondary and even primary vehicles for certain residents.

Summer in those facilities in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California can be sweltering, but air conditioning systems typically take up too much power for those small vehicles to work effectively.

Curtis has designed a better system for air conditioning by having the system cycle itself off when the driver needs more engine power.

The same idea is applied to a tractor when it it using a bucket or backhoe to lift a load.

"The AC senses that and takes less power," Psyhojos said. "We're looking at applying this across the board to everything for which we make a cab."

Curtis makes cabs for Kubota tractors, and they look just like a factory cab from the get go, said Burch, from the Maryland tractor supplier.

The air that comes out of the air conditioning system is as cold as the air that would come out of a regular car with one huge difference, Burch said: It's an electronic system.

"It's a really nice setup they do on all of them," he said.

Read about the other Excellence in Manufacturing Awards winners

Green Manufacturing Award: Fourstar Connections

Workforce Development and Productivity Award: IPAC

Rising Star Award: ThinkLite

Collaboration in Manufacturing Award: Wormtown Brewery

Manufacturing Excellence Award, Small Company: Optim

Manufacturing Excellence Award, Large Company: Jeffco Fibres

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