Norsk Titanium expanding manufacturing capability at Plattsburgh plant

Nov. 24—PLATTSBURGH — When Norsk Titanium arrived on the local manufacturing scene in 2016, it was all the rage.

Everyone wanted to know about the cool new technology the company would be bringing to the area and whether it would succeed.

Well, half a decade later, it's still cool and Norsk is doing quite well and loving the North Country.

"It's fantastic for us," Craig DeBoos, operations manager for Norsk said.

"We have access to renewable power resources, which is very important to the company. There is a an environmental awareness package that goes along with being a European based company, but at the same time, we've also got a bunch of really genuine people who want to work hard... it's a feature of the North Country so we really enjoy it."

PRINTS AIRCRAFT

Norsk is a company that literally 3D prints aircraft. They take a computer model and use the 3D print technology to actually make parts for aircraft. The company has been at the forefront of such technology and their arrival in the North Country was much anticipated.

"If you want to succeed in business, you either be better or you be faster," DeBoos said.

"So we want to be better and we want to be faster. Rather than taking 12 months to build a part for an aircraft, we want to be able to do it in 12 weeks. If we can do it in 12 weeks, we want to do it in 12 days."

RAPID MANUFACTURING

DeBoos said the fastest part they've ever created took just over four hours from the time it was a model on a computer to the time that that was in his hands.

"Being able to bring those ideas forth and to generate that kind of rapid manufacturing environment... we don't know how we're going to do it in five years time. So we want to bring people in who can help us grow, bring those ideas to us, and help us realize that vision for what our company wants to be in."

DeBoos said Norsk has a staff of about 40 workers in Plattsburgh right now and is looking to hire at a minimum another 20 operators next year. Those operator positions will also need support positions that the company will be looking for.

TO THE NEXT GENERATION

With more new contracts in tow, DeBoos said Norsk is looking to double or even triple their capacity in the next year.

"We're expanding our manufacturing in Plattsburgh so this is outreach to the next generation of talent that's coming through Plattsburgh," DeBoos said at the recent North Country Manufacturing Day at Clinton Community College.

"We'd like to be able to recruit from the local area into as many of the jobs as possible because people in the North Country know what they're getting into. We want to make sure we have good relationships with local schools and local colleges so that we have candidates. So this is part of our effort to reach out into the community and make sure that people understand who we are, what we're looking for so that when we do advertise for those jobs, we have people who are attracted and want to come to work rather than thinking I have to go to Albany or New York City for work."

The jobs Norsk is looking to fill offer competitive wages and benefits.

"I like to think so," DeBoos said.

"Every machine needs one operator to run and operators require high school and a little bit of knowledge and experience about the manufacturing environment. Then, then they can start with us at $22 an hour."

HIGH TECHNOLOGY COMPANY

DeBoos said in addition to looking for local high school graduates, they also recruit heavily at Clarkson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy and at SUNY schools.

"We're all about making sure that building a high technology company in the North Country is something that's also going to give back to the community as well," he said.

Norsk is also looking to partner with other local companies.

"If we can bring partner organizations in so they can do that workforce locally, rather than having to send it to Pennsylvania or Montreal or something like that, that opens up a big use of force so you guys could maybe grow and expand," DeBoos said.

Norsk is figuring on more work developing in the aerospace industry, which will bode well for the company and the region.

"There's still a lot of work as you develop into commercial aerospace," he said.

"We're doing basic structural components at the moment. Eventually, we want to get the flight critical and fracture critical components. But there's a lot of work between a lot of steps that we have to go through."

Norsk is the leading additive manufacturing company in the world, DeBoos said, and they want that to continue.

"We were the first to have structural components flying on aircraft and we want to keep building on that," he said.

"We made a commitment to New York state and we made a commitment to the area."

E-mail: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @jlotemplio