Posted: April 01, 2013
Made in Colorado 2013: AerospaceBy Eric Peterson
Spacecraft and aerospace components
With 90,000 square feet of brand-new manufacturing space, Broomfield-based spacecraft and component maker Ball Aerospace is hoping 2013 will be a pivotal year for the 57-year-old company.
Ball, which counts 2,800 employees nationwide, recently put the finishing touches on $75 million expansions of its Boulder and Westminster facilities, doubling the company’s spacecraft production capacity.
And Ball is already using its updated workspace to construct a number of high-profile spacecraft. Company spokeswoman Roz Brown says Ball is in the midst of constructing a remote-sensing satellite for DigitalGlobe that will provide the images for Google Earth’s satellite views, a spacecraft for the B612 Foundation that will help search for nearby asteroids like the one that caused destruction in Russia in February, and an antenna suite for the military’s F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.
Although 2013 is looking rosy for Ball, which earned sales of $876.8 million last year, the company warned that its fate remains contingent on an unimpeded flow of funds from the government to its various customers. The warning is noteworthy considering continued bickering over funding programs like NASA.
Known for its ability to machine virtually any
aerospace metal, Primus Metals is in expansion mode.
The company, launched in 1989, recently acquired Primus Wind Power, setting its sights on the small-scale wind turbine market. Primus Metals also plans to broaden its core aerospace manufacturing business into the medical component industry and expects to obtain its ISO 13485 medical certification for that effort this year. Finally, Primus hopes to develop its core component manufacturing operation further into Europe.
Why so much expansion? “Because we can,” says President Randy Brodsky, adding that his plan is to “accelerate the growth rate of the company.”
Brodsky said Primus – which runs its 42,000-square-foot Lakewood facility with 75 employees – is “approaching” annual revenues of $20 million for 2013, which Brodsky says represents a growth rate around 15 percent.
By June, Intrex Aerospace will have a new home. The company, based in Louisville, plans to leave its current 23,000-square-foot facility and move into a new 70,000-square-foot location in Thornton.
Intrex, founded in 1977, previously manufactured components for all kinds of equipment, from locks to automobiles. But in 2009, Michigan-based manufacturer Demmer Corp. acquired the company and refocused its business solely on the aerospace sector. The relocation into its larger Thornton facility will allow Intrex to sell more deeply into its existing aerospace customer base.
“We’re maxed out at our current location,” says Jim Duggins, Intrex’s director of sales. “This will help facilitate our growth plans.”
Intrex employs 70 workers now and expects to increase that number to 80 after the move. The company anticipates maintaining its 20 percent growth rate in 2013 that it has enjoyed during the past several years.
A&M has been manufacturing aerospace parts in Denver for more than 30 years.
Davis Manufacturing Co.
Precision Aerospace Components
In business since 1979, Davis nearly doubled its square footage in a 2012 move from Englewood to Denver to expand its capacity and accommodate growth.
Stamping, molding, machining, GPS satellites
Aeronautics and defense giant Lockheed Martin has about 9,000 employees in Colorado.
Pueblo (based in Charlotte, N.C.)
Global aerospace manufacturer UTC makes braking systems in Colorado.
Zybek Advanced Products
Lunar dust simulant
Zybek Advanced Products, a.k.a. ZAP, zaps sand with its industrial plasma system to create faux moon dust.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com