Precision cutting shop expands

Precision Cutting Technologies is adding 9500 sq ft of floor space and plans to order 2 to 3 additional machines because of increased orders.

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Spokane, WA - Precision Cutting Technologies Inc., a company that specializes in laser cutting, water jet cutting, and precision metal fabrication for a variety of industries, is experiencing growth in making parts for several manufacturing companies. Therefore, the company is expanding its production area by almost double with a $500,000 building addition: the company is adding 9500 sq ft of floor space, bringing its total building area to 17,500 sq ft of space.

Owner Clint Grassel and his wife Brenda started in 1999 at a smaller facility says. "We do expect to see business continue to grow. We anticipate additional work from existing customers, and we gained a couple of new solid customers recently for some new work," said Clint Grassel.

The business's customers include Wagstaff Inc., Telect Inc., and Kaiser Aluminum Corp., among others. Precision Cutting Technologies has 14 employees and provides services to cut a range of materials, including plastic, rubber, fiberglass, and metals.

Grassel says the company's workload picked up significantly about six months ago, requiring it to run staggered shifts from about 4:30 am to midnight five days a week, with each employee working about 10 hours a day. Grassel says. "We're running at about 20 hours a day of production Monday through Friday, so we're kind of tapped out without the addition." He says the addition will give them the ability to collapse shifts down a bit and also allow for future expansion.

The company plans to spend about $250,000 to buy two to three additional pieces of equipment initially in conjunction with the expansion. Depending on demand for its part-cutting services, total capital expenditure for machines could reach $1.5 million in the next two years.

Although the company primarily does work for other manufacturers, it also makes a product it calls a "split joint casing" for encasing underground cables. This product is sold mainly to government agencies such as transportation departments in various states. However, the company recently began increasing its marketing of the split joint casings to attract customers from among utilities, fiber optics providers, and telecom companies.

PCT makes the product in 10-foot lengths, and it can fabricate fittings and custom bends for the piping. Grassel says the steel pipes arrive at the company in full-round form, and its employees then split them in half and weld tabs onto the halves for bolting the pipe sections together when they're installed at a site.

"They can bolt it together in the field, and then if someone needs to replace cable later for a section of the pipe, the worker can take off a top section by unscrewing the bolts on the side," Grassel adds. He says the piping product is manufactured in such a way that customers also easily can extend a cable line in another direction, by adding onto a section of piping installed previously.

In addition to two water jet cutters, the company also operate a 2 kW Cincinnati CL-6 laser (see photo) dual pallet laser cutting system to cut pipes and thinner pieces of metal. That machine is used about 10 percent of the time for cutting pipe, and the rest of the time to cut thinner metal plates.

Grassel says the business provides services to a number of industries, including aerospace, food processing, farm equipment, architecture, and contract manufacturing. He says both he and his wife work in the daily operations. He oversees production and the functions of a small front office, and Brenda Grassel handles human resources and accounting roles.

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