Duluth Co. Mulls Whether To Expand In MN Or Elsewhere
Ikonics Corporation, a Duluth-based imaging technology company, announced Monday that it’s expanding its capabilities in the aerospace industry by spending $570,000 to upgrade its equipment in its current facilities—and, meanwhile, it’s planning to add a new manufacturing facility.
Although this isn’t Ikonics’ first foray into the aerospace industry, CEO Bill Ulland said the new investment marks a “major expansion” in the field.
“In order to secure this business we need to show potential customers our technical and manufacturing capabilities,” Ulland said. “Phase one of this expansion program is the capital equipment approved by the Ikonics board, which will occupy all the remaining space in our building in Morgan Park.”
Because the new equipment will occupy the company’s existing space, Ulland said the second phase of the expansion will include a new manufacturing facility.
Ulland told Twin Cities Business that the company is exploring options for the new facility to be housed in Ireland, Mexico, or at a new site near its current in Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood.
“Although two potential customers would like us to investigate locating a manufacturing facility near their off-shore aircraft assembly plants, and have offered to help with financing these facilities through joint ventures or licensing agreements, we would like phase one to be a bridge to phase two, which would be a new manufacturing facility at the Morgan Park site dedicated to aerospace,” Ulland said in a statement.
Ulland said that a new facility would constitute a major investment for Ikonics and that the company needs to evaluate the risk, economics, and financing options carefully before choosing a location.
“We’ll decide on the new facility toward the end of this year,” Ulland said. “If we choose to expand in Morgan Park it would be helpful if we could get some assistance from the city or state.”
Ulland said the new facility is estimated to create between 30 and 40 new jobs over several years.
“Assuming our continuing market evaluation remains positive and the economics work, we would like to begin construction next spring with completion in the fall of 2015,” Ulland said in a statement. “If this goes forward in Morgan Park, we believe it will create a significant number of jobs and bolster Duluth’s status as an aerospace hub.”