National R&D Consortium Roadmaps Automotive Supplier to Diversification and Growth
June 30, 2009. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) and Koops, Inc. welcomed Second District Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) to Koops world headquarters in Holland, Michigan today to celebrate the successful commercialization of a revolutionary new laser stripping technology created in collaboration with NCMS. This new technology has expanded the Koops business, allowing the firm to grow in a time when many Michigan companies are downsizing.
“NCMS roadmapping services helped Koops create a strategic vision for growth and diversification. During the roadmapping process, we identified competencies and opportunities in the defense and aerospace sectors; opportunities that Koops is now actively exploring. It allowed the company to expand beyond its roots,” said Rick Jarman, President & CEO of NCMS. “Koops can now commercialize an incredible new technology, diversify its capabilities, and add more jobs in Michigan.”
Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Rick Jarman NCMS President & CEO
Congressman Hoekstra, a longtime advocate of growth and diversification of Michigan businesses to improve employment and stabilize the economy, views the success of Koops as an example to be replicated throughout the State. Diversifying the industrial base of Michigan has the potential to help the State survive the current automaker crisis and generate employment and revenue that will lead to true economic recovery.
The technology, a robotic laser stripping system, is capable of stripping paint from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter blade in less than two hours – a time savings of 75% over hand-sanding. The laser system is so precise that it can remove only the top layers of paint, leaving the primer layer intact and not damaging the blade substrate. “When it was done by hand, technicians wore hazmat suits, worked in sweltering heat with toxic stripping chemicals,” said Mike Gnam, NCMS Project Manager. “Even a small mistake could result in irreparable damage to a $110,000 helicopter blade. This elegant laser system removes that risk. It’s going to save the Department of Defense about 80% in blade refurbishing costs, not to mention the huge time savings. And for Koops, it represents a valuable market opportunity, since the technology has far, far more potential uses than just taking the paint off helicopter blades.”
“It means more equipment available to our warfighters, which has a positive impact on National Security,” said Wesley Koops, founder of Koops, Inc. “On the home front, our participation in this project allowed us to add a strategic new product to our portfolio. NCMS managed the project and provided the strategic roadmapping we needed to move out of our traditional role of automotive supplier. Thanks to this project, we’ve been able to build our knowledge base, develop additional complimentary technologies, and add jobs as the business grows.”