History of Thomson Precision Ball
Over sixty years in operation
Thomson Precision Balls was originally founded as two separate companies.
The Pioneer Division was started in 1946 as a privately owned company. It was located in Unionville Connecticut and employed approximately 120 employees. Pioneer manufactured a full range of products from chrome steel to stainless steels in sizes from 3/32 to 1”. The ABEK division was found several years later in Bristol, Connecticut also a privately owned company. They specialized in manufacturing balls in similar materials as Pioneer but in the small to miniature range from .0012” to 5/32..
For both companies their major area of business was in the automotive, bearings and aerospace industries. Both companies were major suppliers to Thomson Industries for their linear bearings as well as their ball screw operations.
In 1988 Thomson acquired both companies out of a desire to have a domestic company that could supply the many variations they required in a short lead time. Both divisions grew their external market under Thomson’s ownership while supplying about 20% of their output for the parent company.
During the Thomson ownership both divisions grew and became significant players in their range of products. During this time the Pioneer division built a complete cell to supply 5/64 ball to a sister company, Thomson Bay, for an assemble as part of an antilock braking system to GM. The production was 22 million per month of a 5/64 52100 Chrome grade 5 ball. Thomson Precision Ball won the GM supplier of the year for their performance on this project.
In 2004 Danaher acquired the entire Thomson Industry organization. Danaher an 11 billion dollar company introduced the Danaher Business System which resulted in many improvements in the ball companies’ operation. Today, known as Thomson Precision Balls, and located in Bristol, CT, it still manufactures and supplies Thomson’s precision balls to the world market.