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Made in Colorado 2017: Most innovative manufacturer

Colorado product companies are awarded for their inventiveness and risk-taking


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Colorado's most innovative manufacturers don't shy away from risk, they lean into it. Their products and processes are pioneering and at the 2017 ColoradoBiz Manufacturing Forum & Awards, they were recognized and rewarded.

REATA ENGINEERING
From modest beginnings in 1993, this Denver-based contract machine shop has grown from a one-man side hustle – CEO Grady Cope is also a cattle rancher and ballroom dancer – to one of the most advanced manufacturing shops in the metro area. In doing so, Reata has earned high praise from Tim Heaton, CEO of Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance. “This company is the living example of how we’re bringing manufacturing back from Asia,” Heaton said. The operation provides high-mix, low volume manufacturing prototypes, tooling, machining and assembly in a 25,000-square-foot facility that supplies a multitude of industries. The plant, split in two, is largely automated.

FINALISTS

ALEPH OBJECTS INC.

Every day, rows of machines feverishly print clones of themselves inside Aleph Objects’ Loveland-based headquarters. Reliable and affordable, the 3D printer company produces free software and open source hardware. Thanks to hit products, the LulzBot TAZ 5 and LulzBot Mini 3D printers, Aleph Objects saw record profits and tripled sales in 2015. Recognized by Inc. Magazine this year as the No. 1 fastest-growing privately held U.S. computer hardware company, the team announced the upcoming release of the strong and speedy LulzBot TAZ MOARstruder Tool Head and new software development at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

BLUE CANYON TECHNOLOGIES

In an era of budget cuts, the aerospace industry has received pressure to develop systems that are low cost, and Boulder-based BCT stepped up to the plate, aiming to make small satellites with reliable performance. The company designs, manufactures, tests and operates small spacecraft, including high-performance components and systems. More than matching the functionality of larger satellites, the CubeSat system allows for exceptional applications, such as low-cost global atmospheric testing. In 2015, Maryland-based startup PlanetiQ enlisted Blue Canyon Technologies to build a commercial constellation of 12 weather satellites in hopes of improving weather modeling capabilities for a variety of users.

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is the former digital editor of ColoradoBiz.

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