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Metalcraft absorbs plant, workers

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Not only did airplane parts manufacturer Metalcraft Technologies Inc. purchase the recently closed Coleman sleeping bag building, but so far the company has hired five former Coleman employees and plans to hire a dozen more.

Metalcraft president David J. Grant said the 156,000 square feet in the old Coleman building combines with 265,000 square feet in its main production building for a large presence in Cedar City. In addition, the company has a plant in Fontana, Calif.To note the purchase of the Coleman building the company had a grand opening ceremony attended by Larry Lunt, MTI co-owner Grant, representatives of several aerospace companies and Cedar City Mayor Harold Shirley.

Grant said he has plans to expand for several years, but he was waiting for the right building to become available. The decision to close the Coleman building couldn't have come at a better time for MTI, he said.

The company will move its screw machines and processing lines into the new building by August, but most of the space will be used to assemble parts made in the old Cedar City plant and the plant in Fontana. He said the assemblies such as wings, fuselages and engines usually require hundreds of parts.

Metalcraft already builds thousands of parts of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Lear and Northrup/ Grumman. Grant hopes to win more of the parts contracts up for bid and continue to demonstrate that placing an order with MTI is a wise move.

The company is one of six aerospace suppliers asked to bid for the retrofitting of the Grumman E-2C outer wing panel assembly, and the company also is bidding on other large assemblies such as engines built by General Electric and benches for Northrup.