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ARCHIVED  October 8, 1999

PCC-AFT expands employment base

FIRESTONE – PCC Advanced Forming Technology, a subsidiary of Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP), lately has been gearing up with injections of employees – more than 60 of them.

“We have made quite a large jump,” asserted Mim Duffy, human resources generalist for the company. “Right now, we’re close to 275 employees. I know we’ve added at least 60 to 70 employees since July.”

After its acceptance of the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership Inc.’s Company of the Year Award in early May, Advanced Forming Technology announced that “they expect to add 10 percent more jobs during 1999, with employment reaching as high as 850 by 2003.”

The company appears to be well on its way.

“Hopefully, this is only the beginning,´ said Vice President Andrew Hanson. “We have about 275 people right now, and it could grow to 500 people in the next couple of years. That’s the plan.”

The impetus for the expansion, Duffy explained, was the ramping up of its ThixoForming operation – a technology for manufacturing high-density, complex components using low-weight metal alloys. “ThixoForming has been in pre-production for a couple years, and now its gone into full production,” she said. “We went from a small operation with three to four operators per shift and now have eight or nine operators on each shift.”

ThixoForming is only one of the company’s three major operations – Metal Injection Molding and PCC Composites are the other two – and not the only area in upward flux, Hanson added: “We have pretty large growth plans for the metal-injection business as well.”

Metal injection molding is a $100 million industry in the United States, with a worldwide marketplace, reported Peter Johnson, director of public relations and government affairs for the Metal Powder Industries Federation in Princeton, N.J.

“It’s growing in excess of 20 percent per year,” he estimated.

Metal injection molding is still very much on the rise. “I would say it probably had its infancy as a developmental process about 25 years ago,” Johnson said, adding that metal injection molding is a specialized process adapted from much more prevalent plastic injection molding technologies.

“We definitely hire in people who have plastic-injection experience,” Duffy agreed, “and we have a number of plastic-injection machines that have been customized [for metal-injection molding.]”

“We do all types of business,” she added. “Automotive, medical, firearms ä A lot in the automotive industry in Detroit.”

Major markets for metal-injection molding include the medical supply, computer and firearm industries, and the automotive industry, Johnson said, is a developing market.

Advanced Forming Technology, founded in 1987 and based outside Firestone on Weld County Road 20, is among the largest, if not the largest, metal-injection molders in the world, Hanson said. And the number of metal-injection molders out there is growing: “There’s about 23 that belong to the metal-injection molding association, and there’s easily 50 to 60 companies worldwide, he said.

Johnson noted: “That’s probably a conservative estimate. I would say the U.S. market is probably half of the worldwide market, with Japan second, then Europe.”

He added: “Advanced forming has a very good reputation. They’re one of the leaders.”

FIRESTONE – PCC Advanced Forming Technology, a subsidiary of Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP), lately has been gearing up with injections of employees – more than 60 of them.

“We have made quite a large jump,” asserted Mim Duffy, human resources generalist for the company. “Right now, we’re close to 275 employees. I know we’ve added at least 60 to 70 employees since July.”

After its acceptance of the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership Inc.’s Company of the Year Award in early May, Advanced Forming Technology announced that “they expect to add 10 percent more jobs during 1999, with employment reaching as…

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