Milling Precision Tool may be a small company tucked in an industrial area of southwest Wichita, but it ships parts all over the world for some big customers.
Now, it’s expanding.
The locally owned company makes detailed parts and components for the aerospace and general aviation industries and for military aircraft.
It also provides a variety of other services.
The current 17,500-square-foot facility at 4225 W. 31st St. South is operating close to capacity, said Ed Miller, the company’s president and co-owner.
So Milling Precision Tool is adding 6,700 square feet in a $250,000 building expansion.
Work is expected to begin this summer with completion by year’s end.
The company needs more room because it won a contract for new work with Spirit AeroSystems to provide parts for Airbus airplanes.
“We’re very pleased to have it,” Miller said.
In fact, the company hopes to become a prime supplier to Airbus, he said.
It’s also expanding in anticipation of the return of the business jet market at Cessna Aircraft, one of its largest customers.
“Being ready for my customers’ recovery is important,” Miller said.
In addition, it’s a good time to build because construction costs today are more reasonable, he said.
Besides adding floor space, Milling Precision Tool, which employs 21, will also add about six new machines and hire at least four more people over the next five years, Miller said.
Just how much staff will grow depends on demand in what is a cyclical industry.
The company’s largest customers are Spirit AeroSystems, Lockheed Martin and Cessna.
More than 40 percent of its sales are to customers outside Kansas.
“Our customers are global,” Miller said. “We’re shipping parts all over the world.”
For example, it does business with Israel, Turkey and Mexico.
The company also is returning to pre-recession production levels.
New business at Milling Precision Tool means the company will reach or exceed 2008 production by the end of this year, Miller said.
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council approved a 31.5 percent property tax reduction on the expansion at the company over the next five years – with an option for five more.
The tax abatement is based on its capital investment and job retention and creation, according to information in the city’s agenda.
Milling Precision Tool was founded in 1952 by Harold Russell.
Since then, it’s had four sets of owners, including Miller and his partner, Ron Beebe, who together bought the company in 2006.
Milling Precision Tool operates in an environment in which machine shops are being acquired by larger shops or by investment firms in an era of consolidation.
In fact, Miller said he gets inquiries about every week from people interested in buying.
He isn’t interested.
“We want to be a local business,” Miller said.