Protomet Corporation, an Oak Ridge, Tenn., manufacturer supplying precision component parts for automotive manufacturing and other industrial sectors announced a $30-million expansion to add 100,000 sq.ft. of production space, adding to its manufacturing capabilities as well. The project also will add an estimated 200 jobs over the next five years, according to the company’s management.
No specific details of those new capabilities were released. Protomet promises “start-to-finish services” for its clients, including CAD design and rapid prototyping, and three- to five-axis CNC machining. The CNC machining operations are highly automated, with robotic loading and palletized systems that maximize spindle run times.
Besides machining, Protomet offers laser cutting and welding, electro-polishing, anodizing, product assembly, and full CMM inspection.
“The new facility will dramatically increase Protomet’s capacity and capabilities for the customers it serves,” stated Jeff Bohanan, founder and CEO.
Protomet plans to acquire property and break ground for the new space by June. Construction will take approximately 10 months to complete, and the new operation is expected to be fully operational early in 2017.
Protomet was founded in 1997, supplying manufactured parts to automotive, homeland security, industrial, energy and power sector companies, but it has been expanding in the past several years on the strength of orders for the marine/boating sector with custom products like customized mirror and ski/wakeboard brackets.
In 2013, Protomet more than doubled the previous size of the Oak Ridge operation with a $7-million, 40,000-sq.ft. addition. Currently, it has about 70 employees.
The site of the upcoming expansion remains in some doubt: Protomet’s current eight-acre Oak Ridge location is not sufficient to accommodate all that is planned, and the company is looking at three nearby sites and exploring options in South Carolina, too. It also is discussing its options for expanding on 20 acres of adjacent property now controlled by the U.S. Department of Energy. "We have been working over the last few months with Oak Ridge economic development officials to see if we can get a conveyance of a small percent of that property that is available," he said. "That would allow us to expand in our current location."