Commercial and military aerospace supplier Royal Plastic Manufacturing Inc. of Minden, Neb., is expanding with additional space, equipment and employees. Total investment should exceed $1 million.
On Dec. 2, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded $405,000 in community development block grant funding to help Royal Plastic with the expansion. A program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides the funds to assist businesses and communities.
During 2009, Royal plans to construct a facility of about 25,000 square feet adjacent its existing structure of 52,000 square feet.
Royal has two years in which to use the grant money and hire 25 additional employees. The firm employs 97 now.
Royal Plastic makes polymer-matrix-composite parts and is experiencing growth in niches for small carbon fiber-reinforced and sandwich panel components for jet engines and secondary structure and ducting for U.S. Department of Defense aerospace vehicles, said Jarrod Ridge, business development representative.
The firm fabricates the carbon fiber-reinforced components in an aerospace-grade clean room, cures them in autoclaves and, typically, uses computer numerically controlled mills for trimming.
Under the award, Minden makes a forgivable $150,000 loan and a repayable $250,000 loan to help Royal purchase manufacturing equipment such as another autoclave, a water-jet cutter, an air compressor, a backup generator and production computer software. Minden gets the remaining $5,000 for administrative-related costs. Minden Exchange Bank is loaning $517,011, and Royal plans to provide $100,000 in equity.
Harley Cole started Royal in 1949, and Phillip Gill took over in 1993. The firm had sales of $8.4 million in 2007, projects 2008 at more than $10 million and anticipates exceeding $12 million in 2009. Customers include Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.