PARK AEROSPACE CORP. ANNOUNCES ITS LARGEST CUSTOMER HAS APPROVED AND QUALIFIED THE COMPANY’S MAJOR EXPANSION FOR PRODUCTION
Newton, Kansas, Monday, April 24, 2023…..Park Aerospace Corp. (NYSE-PKE) announced that, on April 5, 2023, the Company’s largest customer qualified and fully approved the Company’s major expansion of its Newton, Kansas facilities for production on all of the customer’s aircraft programs. Park further announced that its first manufacturing production run in the Company’s major expansion facilities occurred on April 19, 2023.
The major expansion, which was designed as a redundant facility to support critical aircraft programs on which the Company is sole source qualified, was originally announced in December of 2018. The expansion, which consists of approximately 90,000 square feet of additional manufacturing, laboratory and office space, approximately doubled the size of the preexisting footprint of the Company’s Newton, Kansas facilities. The expansion cost approximately $20 million.
Brian Shore, Park’s Chairman and CEO, said, “We broke ground on our major expansion on August 15, 2019. It was a typical windy and hot summer day in Kansas. I remember having to hold down the tent as I was giving a little speech at the groundbreaking event. Of course, when we broke ground, we had no idea that the global pandemic was looming around the corner. The pandemic posed its share of challenges in the construction of the facility and the installation of the complex equipment contained in the facility, no doubt. But, while many others were slashing their capital spending or cancelling their capital projects altogether, we pushed forward with all we had and completed our major expansion project and never looked back.”
Brian Shore continued, “And there is more to this story which should be told. Our Great Production People have been working 60 hour or more weeks on a regular basis for quite a while, and, as a result, did not have the additional bandwidth required to staff the extensive manufacturing trials and qualification runs necessary to qualify the facility’s complex new equipment lines for the aerospace programs they are intended to support. So, in order to avoid delays in the qualification of our new facility and equipment, our Great R&D and Engineering People stepped up and staffed the manufacturing trials and qualification runs. They are staffing early production as well. And I do not recall anybody asking our R&D and Engineering People to do these things. They just did them. Thank you, R&D and Engineering People, for your dedication and loyalty. We are very fortunate at Park to have the wonderful People we have.”
Brian Shore concluded, “The qualification and approval, by our largest customer, of our new redundant facility, and the commencement of production in the new facility, are big milestones for us. It has been a long and challenging road since we broke ground on that hot and windy summer day in August of 2019. Thanks to the dedication of our special Park People, that road has been traversed and our new redundant facility is in production.”
Park Aerospace Corp. develops and manufactures solution and hot-melt advanced composite materials used to produce composite structures for the global aerospace markets. Park’s advanced composite materials include film adhesives (undergoing final development) and lightning strike protection materials. Park offers an array of composite materials specifically designed for hand lay-up or automated fiber placement (AFP) manufacturing applications. Park’s advanced composite materials are used to produce primary and secondary structures for jet engines, large and regional transport aircraft, military aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs commonly referred to as “drones”), business jets, general aviation aircraft and rotary wing aircraft. Park also offers specialty ablative materials for rocket motors and nozzles and specially designed materials for radome applications. As a complement to Park’s advanced composite materials offering, Park designs and fabricates composite parts, structures and assemblies and low volume tooling for the aerospace industry. Target markets for Park’s composite parts and structures (which include Park’s proprietary composite SigmaStrut™ and AlphaStrut™ product lines) are, among others, prototype and development aircraft, special mission aircraft, spares for legacy military and civilian aircraft and exotic spacecraft. Park’s objective is to do what others are either unwilling or unable to do. When nobody else wants to do it because it is too difficult, too small or too annoying, sign us up.