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Ikonics begins $4.3 million expansion of Morgan Park plant

Ikonics Corp. broke ground last week on its $4.3 million expansion in Duluth's Morgan Park to accommodate the company's growing aerospace work. The Duluth-based company's new 27,300-square-foot building will be built next to its existing 37,000-s...

Rendering of the planned expansion
The existing Ikonics building in Atlas Industrial Park in Morgan Park is shown at right with a rendering of the planned expansion building added in the left foreground. )Conceptual rendering by LHB)

Ikonics Corp. broke ground last week on its $4.3 million expansion in Duluth’s Morgan Park to accommodate the company’s growing aerospace work.
The Duluth-based company’s new 27,300-square-foot building will be built next to its existing 37,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at Atlas Industrial Park.
The new facility for Ikonics’ aerospace division is expected to be completed in spring 2016. It will include a 20,500-square-foot production floor that will be able to accommodate five robots and other automated equipment for machining carbon fiber composites and electronic wafers.
Ikonics, founded in 1952 as Chroma-Glo Inc., specializes in products and processes that create and transfer images using photochemical coatings and films, sand carving, digital texturing, photo machining and other advanced technologies.
In recent years it also has made inroads in the aerospace industry with its sound deadening liners for jets.
“We now are getting repeat and continual business as the aircraft utilizing our technology enters into commercial service, and we are negotiating long-term agreements to supply this business,“ Ikonics President Bill Ulland said in a statement.
The company’s expansion in Duluth was solidified when the company was awarded $507,0000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to build and grow jobs in Duluth. The expansion is expected to boost Ikonics’ workforce from its current 70 to 105 or more. The company will get the award from the state’s Job Creation Fund when its hiring and investment is completed.
Thursday’s ceremonial groundbreaking came on the heels of the publicly traded company’s release of its second-quarter results
Sales for the quarter ending June 30 reached $4.6 million, down 6 percent from the 2014’s second quarter. Meanwhile, earnings fell to $28,000, compared to the $198,400 recorded during the same quarter in 2014, according to the company’s unaudited financial report.
Ikonics has customers in more than 90 countries. And the company is attributing most of the decrease to weak export sales due to the strong U.S. dollar.
“I believe the strong U.S. dollar will be with us for a while, and, as with most companies that have a strong export business, we will feel pricing and sales pressure,” Ulland said in his statement. “Consequently, we are increasing our efforts to reduce costs.”
Meanwhile, the company’s aerospace division, Advanced Materials Solutions, continues to grow, with sales for the quarter up 67 percent  companied to the 2014’s second quarter and up 40 percent for the first half of the year.
That growth is fueling the expansion underway.

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