Todd Sarka is proud of his company and what it has brought to Tiffin.
Sarka is co-president of Sarka Sheet Metal and Fabrication Inc. and Sarka Conveyor and Automation with wife Andrea, a second-generation business which has been in existence since 1985.
In his time at the helm, Sarka has increased the scope of his business, extending throughout the United States and internationally. One major component of happened in 2009 when he invested in bringing the manufacture of the CARHOE railroad car hopper unloader to Tiffin from Springfield, Ill.
"I'm just hoping we can take it and make it more global than ever before," Sarka said of the acquisition.
The first Tiffin-produced model was sold last October, but calls are coming in.
"We get (calls) from all over," Sarka said. "Just today we were talking with a company from Canada."
Before coming to Tiffin, two generations of CARHOE were leaders in the industry in unloading products from train cars. Sarka built on the legacy which began in 1967 by upgrading it to work with joysticks instead of heavy machinery controls, incorporating an articulating head with cameras and installing air conditioning and heat in cabs.
The articulating head has become especially valuable to CARHOE as it helps companies unload dried distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol, which is being transported around the world.
"(DDG) is just growing and growing and that's not going to go away," Sarka said. Mostly for farm animals, mixing it with feed.
CARHOE also is used to unload aggregate, coal and stone.
Sarka has emphasized local sourcing as much as possible.
"We sure try every chance to buy local and deal local with everything," he said.
Many CARHOEs produced in Tiffin include glass produced at King's Glass, hydraulics and bearings built at Webster Industries, paint from local suppliers and hoses produced around Seneca County. Sarka also has had some work at National Machinery.
Since Sarka has only been producing CARHOE for about a year, they are still working to continuously improve.
"It's pretty custom, not one has been like another so far. We've had little changes, and every time we build one, we say, 'It would be a little better if we did it like this.'" We just keep improving. So, now we're going back to the people that have them, and have had them for years and saying, 'Look what we have now.' We've just got a lot of potential on this."
More improvements are coming. Sarka said he is currently working with a Canadian company which hopes to install a system to draw fluid and incorporate robotics systems to CARHOE within the next four years.
Sarka said the project is a leap from where they are at currently, but he said the company and Tiffin will be ready when the time comes.
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