Acme Electric Corp. has won a sizable contract from Coca-Cola Co. to make transformers used in the dispensing equipment for the soft drink giant's new crushed ice drink, the East Aurora electronics manufacturer said Thursday.
Acme was named the primary supplier for the specialty transformers that will be used in the dispensers, which will be essential equipment for Coke's new fountain drink, said Robert McKenna, Acme's chairman and president.
"We don't know how big of a deal this will be," McKenna said. "We think it's going to be sizable."
The work on the Coke project will be done at Acme's power distribution products division in Lumberton, N.C., which also announced earlier this month that it had won a contract that makes it the sole supplier of custom electrical transformers for uninterruptible power supply units made by Powerware.
McKenna said the relationship that Acme is establishing with Coke is nearly as important as the actual work that will be done on the contract. Coke has the potential to become one of the power distribution products division's biggest customers. "It's a relationship with a major customer that, I think, offers significant opportunities," he said.
The Coke contract also is a result of Acme's push to take its standard transformers and be able to customize them quickly to meet a particular client's needs, McKenna said.
Acme also was able to meet Coke's demands that the transformers have specific connector assemblies and color-codings so the soft drink company could include them in kits that could be assembled in retail outlets quickly and easily, McKenna said.
"We've made a few units, but we're in the early stages of production," McKenna said.
Acme, which recently opened a new warehouse and light manufacturing facility in Mexico, is shifting some of the more labor-intensive work out of the Lumberton plant and moving it to the Mexican factory, where labor costs are lower. That allows the Lumberton plant to focus on more complex manufacturing jobs, McKenna said.