Automated technology solves operational issues for Maine workshop
$354k | Multiple Awards
faster performing operations using automated technology
For over 45 years, Bourgeois Guitars, LLC has handcrafted high-end, steel-string acoustic guitars. Combining impeccable craftsmanship with a system of hand voicing, founder Dana Bourgeois and his team create guitars for some of the most renowned artists around the world. Bourgeois has operated in Maine for over 20 years and currently builds about 400 guitars annually.
However, due to supply challenges, Bourgeois has struggled to meet increasing demand. Since it can take even the most experienced worker several hours to perform certain complicated operations, such as correctly profiling a fretboard surface and analyzing fret heights at various points, Bourgeois has been searching for automated solutions to a few of the more complex operations in their guitar building process. But without the right resources necessary to develop and incorporate emerging technologies, their ability to scale operations was restricted.
For manufacturers like Bourgeois who were looking to meet increased demand, the Plek machine was the ideal solution. Plek can perform operations in half the amount of time and to a higher degree of accuracy. Previously, there were only 26 Plek machines in the United States, one in the New England region, and 54 in the world.
With the help of MTI’s Core Grant, Bourgeois successfully procured this innovative machine that can help optimize every element contributing to a guitar’s playability. Plek not only offers the best solution to overcome the barriers of scalability but also increases job opportunities for the local community. With this automated manufacturing system, Bourgeois can move forward with its growth plans to triple production. Recently, they expanded their manufacturing footprint from 9,000 square feet to 12,500 square feet. They plan to build a new production facility in the Lewiston-Auburn area and expect it to be operational in 2024. By 2029, Bourgeois plans to double its workforce from 32 to 60 full-time, benefited workers.
Bourgeois is more than just a company, it is a state treasure. Mainers are a singularly resourceful, talented, and stalwart people and there is a long history of hard-earned trust in the Maine brand. The passionate support from local artisans, community stakeholders, and partners like MTI nurtured the state’s expanding innovative business portfolio. With MTI’s continued support, Bourgeois now shares the spotlight with some of the world’s most well-known acoustic guitar brands and Maine rightfully gains international recognition as the center of America’s maker economy.