Galaxy Technologies has wrapped up a $6.5 million capital expansion that included a 30,000-square-foot addition and the acquisition of an extra large five-axis milling machine.
President and CEO Ed Boyington said that with the capital upgrades, the company can make bigger tooling for the aerospace and consumer plastics industries.
The new machine, which measures 20 feet wide by 60 feet long, could also allow the company to serve new sectors, Boyington said.
“We’re looking at automotive, energy (sectors),” he said. “It really makes sense for us.”
Galaxy, founded in 1985, got its start making molds for plastics manufacturers, including Rubbermaid and Coleman.
It expanded into aerospace beginning in the 1990s, making tooling for general aviation and business jet manufacturers and later commercial manufacturers such as Boeing and large suppliers, including Spirit AeroSystems, Triumph and GKN, Boyington said.
While the aerospace market seems to be doing well now, he said it’s a cyclical business and he’d like to buffer the effects from down-cycles by expanding into other industry sectors.
That point was made clear in 2009 when the effects of a national recession started to bear down on general and commercial aviation, he said.
“There was definitely a decline,” Boyington said. “There were really no layoffs during that period. A lot of the executive staff took voluntary, major cuts in salary so we could keep the work force.”
Galaxy employs 185 people. It is owned by private equity firm Gladstone Cos.
The new five-axis machine will hopefully help Galaxy avoid the effects of cyclical swings in aerospace because it offers the company a chance to take on larger tooling products for manufacturers outside of consumer plastics and aerospace, he said.
“For us, we want to find that third thing … to dampen those extremes,” Boyington said.
Boyington added that another industry sector the company is considering targeting is shipbuilding.
At an event this week celebrating the expansion and the company’s 30th year in business, former Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster said, “Galaxy impressed me a long time ago as a company we could trust and count on,” referring to his eight years at the helm of the general aviation manufacturer that is now a part of Textron Aviation.
Galaxy made tooling for parts on Hawker Beechcraft’s T-6 military trainer.
Schuster, who retired from Hawker Beechcraft in 2009, is Galaxy’s chairman of the board. He joined Galaxy’s board in 2011.
He said at this week’s event that Galaxy’s backlog is the highest in the company’s history and it recently won a $5 million contract, which also was the company’s largest contract ever.
Schuster also said Galaxy has made strides recently to improve its on-time delivery of products – at a 95 percent monthly rate since July 2014 – and quality of finished products, the rate of which he said was nearly 99 percent.
“You deliver on time, deliver a quality product, take good care of your customers and great things happen for your company,” he said at the event. “And those things are starting to come together at this company that I think are historically significant.”