Businesses throughout LA County move ahead by engaging LAEDC’s free Business Assistance Program.
Keystone Engineering is a world leader in the design and fabrication of engineered products used in critical/flight-weight aerospace and defense applications. Keystone designs and produces light-weight propellant and pressure storage tanks, and unique fabrication and design technologies for propellant storage. Keystone also produces precision machined structural components and precision welded assemblies. Keystone is growing to meet customer needs for the new generation of spacecraft with the expansion of its 57,000 sq.ft. Long Beach, CA facility. This facility incorporates the latest in design & manufacturing technology.
UPDATE: Keystone Engineering has been featured as one of the seven “Champions of Manufacturing” by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and will be recognized at the CMTA Manufacturers Summit in Sacramento on June 18th.
- Industry: Aerospace, producing fuel tanks for satellites and space vehicles
- Company: Keystone Engineering
- Region: Gateway Cities (Long Beach)
- Project goals:
- Plant renovation and expansion to consolidate operations and accommodate growth
- Contain costs to remain efficient
- LAEDC Program: Free and confidential Business Assistance Program
- Escalating costs: Electricity costs and other costs were continuing to increase.
- Permitting and Inspections: As part of the plant floor design in a newly renovated and expanded space, Keystone needed to move a wastewater pipe and lay concrete which required permitting and inspections. Unfortunately, city, county and AQMD approval was delayed, due to complexities of the process and different permitting processes from different agencies. Due to these delays, a new machine was installed but couldn’t be turned on, so the investment was idle. Renovation progress stalled.
- Training costs: Hiring of new employees necessary for expansion was being deferred because of high training costs.
- LAEDC quickly facilitated meetings with key stakeholders and partners, including the right people at Southern California Edison’s Economic Development Services team, City of Long Beach, workforce development partners at PGWIN, and AQMD. Once the right people had been convened, and LAEDC applied its expertise to help the process along, the issues of permitting and utility costs were addressed.
- LAEDC introduced Keystone to the Innovation Engineering division at California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) to help Keystone design the layout of the plant to cut environmental footprint and save on related costs. CMTC also helped Keystone connect with specific funding for training so initial cost of hiring a new employee decreased significantly, and this allowed hiring of more people.
- LAEDC also provided other training resources for ITAR training so that the company could take greater advantage of export market opportunities.
1. Within a 6-8 month time frame, a successful resolution was achieved.
2. Permits were approved, renovation and expansion was completed, new employees were hired, and employees from the consolidated Ontario facility joined the Long Beach facility.
3. As part of the engagement, SCE identified areas where Keystone could improve efficiencies related to electricity use, resulting in reduced costs. LAEDC also facilitated a discussion with City of Long Beach Gas & Oil Department, opening up a discussion about larger potential energy cost reductions by changing from an electrically fired furnace to gas fired, and tapping into some related business programs.
4. Hiring of new employees became more affordable after tapping into training funds.
5. CMTC helped layout the plant to cut the environmental footprint and save on related costs.
6. Keystone retained and created a total of 40 jobs, and in total this LAEDC engagement helped strengthen LA County’s aerospace industry cluster.
“Although California is sometimes viewed as an expensive place to do business compared to Nevada or Arizona, we believe the technical infrastructure here in the L.A. area for heat treating, metal forming, testing and inspection services greatly reduces operating costs and time to produce.
We did a pin-map for all the services we use, including where our delivery trucks travel—to the heat treating here, to the inspection and testing services over there. What we found was that we need to be in the L.A. area, especially in the Long Beach area, because there is a technical infrastructure of aerospace-certified companies unique to this part of the world. We leverage those capabilities in exotic processes and that is a unique advantage and a reason why we won’t leave Southern California. As a result of our location in Long Beach, we don’t have to be as vertically integrated and this allows us to focus on our skill sets and our core competencies.”
“As we moved our Ontario operation into our facility in Long Beach, Barbara Levine, LAEDC Senior Regional Manager, set up meetings with the Long Beach Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Becki Ames, and the director of Business and Property Development, Mike Conway. As we were preparing for submittal of our building plans, the city convened a pre-submittal meeting that was attended by department heads and their staff who would actually be performing the reviews and inspections. This allowed us and our architect to better understand how to make our applications flow smoothly through the system. Additionally our team and the city’s team got to know ‘who to call’ for questions regarding the myriad of details for this facility expansion. ”
-Wayne Tuttle, Keystone Engineering