05 April 2010
05 April 2010
Rich Petrovich describes his company's transformation from an old-school tooling company to a high-flyer in Ohio's advanced materials industry as ""quite a paradigm shift for us.""
Petrovich is president and chief executive officer of Brooklyn Heights-based North Coast Tool & Mold, founded in 1976, and North Coast Composites, launched in 2003. He says North Coast got involved in high-performance composites about 20 years ago ""but as a tool maker.""
North Coast took a giant step forward seven years ago when it moved into production of composite parts. North Coast Composites, which manufactures carbon, Kevlar and fibreglass parts, primarily for the aerospace industry, shares 65,000-square-foot building with its sister company -- and the two work hand in hand, Petrovich says.
While Petrovich can point to a number of customers, competitors and suppliers who have gone out of business during the current recession, the Companies of North Coast are growing. In the past year, the company has increased employment between 24 and 27 percent, to 33 employees. 2009 sales were up 75 percent from the year before, and Petrovich expects them to double this year over 2009.
Two years ago, North Coast was included in an Ohio Third Frontier-funded consortium managed by the University of Dayton to develop a new process to include nano-enhanced materials in a composite inlet guide vane for military aircraft. The $5-million grant, of which North Coast received a part as a subcontractor, ""has supported our growth in nanocomposites,"" Petrovich says.
The company is currently negotiating for serial production of a rudder it helped develop for the new Gulfstream G250 aircraft and is producing low-cost, lightweight containment cases for jet engines.
New Zealand company Revolution Fibres is tripling nanofibre production to meet increased international demand from a range of industries, from cosmetics manufacturers through to Formula One teams.
US company Web Industries has opened its first European sales office in Hamburg, Germany.
Airborne Aerospace has been awarded a contract by Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to manufacture 48 substrate panels for the solar arrays of 12 new Galileo FOC satellites.