"Kilo" - a word fixed in the lexicon of drug trafficking.
But if Kilo International has its way, the word will soon become synonymous with high-tech instruments.Kilo International, 1952 Billings Ave., which makes aluminum knobs and dials for high-tech instrumentation, took its prosperous 34-year-old business from Southern California to the Provo Industrial Park in August, general manager Jim Davis said.
"We moved the business here for the general atmosphere of the community, and we looked at a lot of different areas," Davis said. "This is where I'd like to raise my family."
Davis said the company's name comes from the turns-counter dials Kilo makes, which are used in precision measurement and testing equipment.
"The multiple turning shaft dial can count or calibrate from one to 1,000, which `kilo' means. Some people think of kilo as a drug word, but that's certainly not what we manufacture."
The company sells the knobs and dials to parts distributors, which then sell them to equipment manufacturers, he said.
"We sell them to distributors and don't work on a contract basis, although we have done some work for the government. We're mainly concentrating on the manufacturing side of our operations."
Davis said although he would not release the names of some of the companies Kilo sells to, the volume control on your car or home stereo could be one of the non-calibrating knobs the company manufactures.
"Some of the different knobs or dials we make can be used on really nice pieces of stereo or audio equipment."
Kilo currently houses six production lines in its 10,500-square foot plant. The company employs 20 full-time workers, although that number will be pared to 15 in six weeks, Davis said.
"We're trying to make up for lost time during the move, so we've had a tremendous backlog of orders that we need to fill. Also, since I didn't bring any workers from California, except for my wife, we've had to train them, and that's taken more employees."
Also, though the company has almost caught up with those orders, it has also experienced a tremendous rise in demand for its product, he said.
"It just doesn't make sense. Knobs or dials are the last thing that goes on a piece of high-tech equipment. It's not the thing that you'd think of buying first while you're making a piece of equipment."
In addition to its current operations, Kilo's plant also has the capability to manufacture other precision-made parts. Consequently, Davis said, it has started manufacturing parts used in carburetor rebuilding and has "put some of this idle equipment to use."
However, those operations are staying appropriately low-key, and the company is keeping mum about other possible production phases, at least until Kilo settles further into its operations, Davis said. "Within a year or so, we may do a lot more with this phase of operations."
The company may consider expanding, should the current boom continue, he said, but that may be well down the road.
"You've got to walk before you can run. We're not immediately looking to manufacture high-volume parts. That's not why we came here either. We came here to settle in, and so far the community has welcomed us with open arms."