Alliance Innovative Manufacturing says its $2.2 million investment in new equipment is providing a much-needed competitive edge that is enabling the business to grow, rather than struggle to survive.

The Lackawanna precision machinery and cutting tool company on Friday marked its new investment with a visit from state and local officials. The new equipment allows for large-format machining, which company president Richard St. John said was an important breakthrough.

"A lot of the people we do business currently are taking over bigger-type work over to Canada, because they can do the large work," he said. "My intent was to keep it on our side of the (border)."

Alliance serves industries including power and gas; aerospace; and air compression. The company has 38 employees, including some who were hired as a result of adding the new equipment.

Alliance generates annual sales of $6 million to $6.5 million. St. John expects the large-format work to help increase the company's annual sales to the $10 million range.

Alliance received financial support in the form of a $180,000 capital grant from Empire State Development and a $357,825 loan from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency's Regional Development Council.

Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development, said Alliance's new investment allows the company "to remain in business and competitive right here in Lackawanna, New York."