News
Leasing and Development
May/22/2014

Hydraulic concern sees growth in manufacturing

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean
mikem@spokanejournal.com

509.344.1266


ACM supplies, services equipment parts, valves


SPOKANE, WA- Advanced Concepts in Manufacturing LLC, a young Spokane Valley manufacturing equipment service and supply company, has grown fourfold since its first year of operation and expects that growth to continue as the economy improves, says Eric Wellington, vice president and principal in the company.

The company's main focus is repair and maintenance of hydraulic valves, although it's also a distributor for California-based Woodard HRT Inc., which is one of a few U.S. manufacturers of servo valves, which are common components in automated manufacturing equipment.

ACM also distributes industrial-grade TCP Wire & Cable Corp. products and fabricates custom cable systems.

In addition to service and repairs, ACM can design entire hydraulic systems, including valve, power, and control components, Wellington says.

"We can look at a customer's application, and design, or help design, a complete closed-loop hydraulic system to accommodate what they're trying to do," he says.

Hydraulic systems use energy created by fluid pressure to activate mechanical motions. The valves ACM works with control hydraulic fluid flow at up to 60 gallons per minute with pressures as high as 5,000 pounds per square inch, Wellington says.

One of ACM's more popular valve models is a Woodard servo valve with onboard electronic controls. It's slightly smaller than a 1-pound coffee can and sells for $4,800, he says.

Wellington, a hydraulics specialist, and Michael Syrcle launched ACM in 2011, and had no other employees at the time. A third principal in the company, Ron Washburn, came on board a year later. ACM has seven employees today.

Syrcle's background is in injection molding, Wellington says, adding that he and Syrcle met through common customers in previous lines of work.

Washburn, a previous friend of Syrcle, has expertise in computer networking, a vital skill for integrating electronic system controls.

The company is located in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan, where it occupies 5,600 square feet of leased space.

Behind the front office, ACM has a testing lab, repair stations, and shelves and racks for parts.

The service-and-repair area also includes a small machine shop for welding and fabricating parts.

Wellington says the company has quadrupled in size since its first year in operation, both in revenue and repair volume. The company's revenue doubled in 2013 compared to 2012 revenue, he says.

"We've been filling up the space, but we've got some room to expand," he says. "We're building a state-of-the-art test bench that will be fully automated."

ACM's growing client list has topped 150 companies across North America, ranging from injection-mold operations to sawmills, he says.

In injection-molding equipment, valves are used for many functions, including controlling the speed and pressure in which hydraulic fluid moves pistons or rams to force heated liquid materials such as plastics or metals into molds.

In sawmills, the valves adjust saw blade positions. "A computer determines where the saw blades need to be for maximum yield, and the valves adjust the blades within a few microns of accuracy," Wellington says. There are 24,500 microns in an inch.

"One sawmill produces 1.5 million board feet of lumber a day using our valves," Wellington says.

He says he expects ACM's growth to continue, especially if the economy continues to improve.

"Everybody's picking up," he says, "Injection molding has been steady, steel and aluminum production is going up, and lumber-mill production is way up. It's the same with particle board and plywood manufacturers."

Wellington says most of the company's new business comes through word-of-mouth references and occasional outside sales.

The company advocates scheduled cleaning and calibration of hydraulic valves at regular intervals of one to three years, depending on how much the equipment is used and how dirty the environment is.

"Some plants, like sawmills, don't like to stop and will run until the valve dies," Wellington says. Other customers have spare valves they can rotate into production equipment to reduce downtime while sending the worn valve for maintenance and repair.

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Leasing and Development
Apr/21/2014

Core-Mark to expand to 150,000 square feet

Spokane Valley, WA – Crown West Realty is pleased to announce the completion of a 15-year lease with Core-Mark International, Inc. for a 50,000 square foot expansion to their current distribution center within the Spokane Business & Industrial Park (The Park). When finished, the high bay, concrete-tilt building will total 150,000 square feet. Vandervert Construction has been selected as the contractor and is expected to complete the multi-million dollar project in the fourth quarter of 2014. Dean Stuart, Crown West Realty’s Director of Marketing and Sales completed the deal.

Core-Mark International, Inc. distributes food, beverages, general merchandise, and sundries to supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores.

Owned and managed by Crown West Realty, The Park is one of the region’s largest employment centers with over 120 resident companies employing in excess of 4,500 people. Over 4.5 million square feet of both dock-high and grade-level buildings rank The Park as one of the largest business and industrial complexes in the country. The expansive inventory, variety of product, ample resources, location and solution-oriented management team make The Park this area’s most flexible and valuable leasing option available.

Crown West Realty is a full-service real estate investment, development, and management firm with offices in New York City, Phoenix, Denver, Tucson and Spokane. Crown West owns and manages approximately eight million square feet of office, industrial and mixed-use properties, as well as 6,000 residential lots in Arizona and Nevada.

For more information about this project or any of Crown West Realty’s properties, please contact Dean Stuart at 509-924-1720 or dstuart@crownwest.com.

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Leasing and Development
Jan/16/2014

Distribution & delivery companies move to The Park

Journal of Business - Real Estate Roundup

By Mike McLean
mikem@spokanejournal.com


SPOKANE, WA- Ritchie Trucking Service Inc., of Fresno, Calif., has leased 9,600 square feet of warehouse and distribution space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan. Chase Breckner, of Crown West Realty LLC, handled the transaction.

CBC Moving Inc., a Portland-based moving and delivery service, has leased 4,000 square feet of space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park for a new Spokane-area outlet. Chase Breckner, of Crown West Realty LLC, handled the transaction.

Wolf Home Operations Inc., a Spokane Valley furniture and appliance delivery service, has leased 4,000 square feet of floor space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park and has moved there from smaller space elsewhere in SBIP. Chase Breckner, of Crown West Realty LLC, handled the transaction.

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Leasing and Development
Dec/15/2013

Industrial Park adds four tenants

Here's the Dirt Real Estate

The Spokesman Review
Spokesman.com

Four new companies have moved into buildings at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park at 3808 N. Sullivan Road.

Allwest Testing & Engineering, which provides materials testing and geotechnical engineering, is leasing 5,000 square feet of space.

Ritchie Trucking Service Inc. has leased 9,600 square feet of space. It provides warehousing and transporation services.

CBC Moving, a commercial moving and delivery company, is leasing roughly 4,000 square feet of space.

Wolf Home Operations Inc. is leasing 4,000 square feet. It delivers furniture and appliances.

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Leasing and Development
Nov/07/2013

Engineering firm slims down machine manufacturing

Journal of Business
By Katie Ross
katier@spokanejournal.com


Lambie uses ‘right-sized’ technology, robotics to streamline processes


SPOKANE, WA- Lambie Engineering LLC, of Spokane Valley, is hoping to revolutionize the way companies fabricate parts through the concept of lean manufacturing.


One of the tenets of lean manufacturing, says Lambie Engineering President and owner Ken Lambie, involves using specially-engineered equipment to make only as many parts as are needed to meet short-term customer demand, thereby reducing waste and making product flow more effective.


“We make machines that make product at what the demand is,” Lambie says. “In the lean community it’s called ‘right-sized’ equipment.”


Lambie Engineering, he says, makes machines that are smaller, produce fewer parts, or run at a slower pace so that companies can make only as many parts as they need, when they need them.


There are a few reasons, Lambie says, why a company might be manufacturing more parts than its demand necessitates. Some manufacturing machines are large and can only make parts in large batches. Lambie says companies also will make large batches of parts at one time to make up for the time and effort it takes to manufacture the part. There are also machines that produce parts at a faster rate than is necessary to meet demand. In these situations, the company ends up with a large surplus of parts that it isn’t using, Lambie says.


As an example, in 2011, the company handled a project for the appliance division of General Electric Co., where it made the machines for manufacturing the front panel of two different dishwashers. Lambie Engineering made both a notch machine, which cuts metal like a cookie cutter, and a form machine, which bends the metal panels into the desired shape. The machines, which Lambie describes as right-sized, were used to streamline the manufacturing process, he says.


Lambie says the company also made a right-sized automated painting booth for Spokane manufacturer Triumph Composite Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Triumph Group Inc., to paint two different light fixtures for Boeing 747 cargo planes. The booth enabled the painting process to take place in the production line instead of in large batches in a different location, thereby improving product flow.


Lambie Engineering also has worked on projects for a number of other recognizable companies, including Whirlpool Corp., Kenworth Truck Co., Boeing Co., and Spokane’s Berg Cos., and Lloyd Industries Inc.


Lambie Engineering moved in September from its 700-square-foot space at 15404 E. Springfield to 1,250-square-foot space at 3020 N Sullivan, Lambie says. The firm decided to move to have more shop space, Lambie says. For the year 2013, the company expects to have $275,000 in revenue. That would be up from its 2012 revenue, Lambie says, but down slightly from 2011, when the company completed the project for GE.


Currently, Lambie and Tom Courrier are the only full-time employees at Lambie Engineering.


The company also employs two part-time workers, Josh Swenson and Tim Adams, who also pursue their own projects outside of Lambie Engineering. Lambie is a mechanical engineer, Courrier is an electrical controls engineer. Swenson is a journeyman tool and die maker and computer numerical control machinist, and Adams in a millwright, welder, and fabrication specialist.


“Between the four of us, we have the capability to build sophisticated machines,” Lambie says. “We all understand production flow and how important that is.”


Lambie also says that the friendship between the four men contributes to the company’s success.


“Friendship, trust, and respect create a cohesive team,” he says.


The firm also uses robotics in some of its projects, and is certified by Fanuc American Corp. as a robotics integrator.


The company buys the device, usually a robotic arm, Lambie says, from Fanuc and then Lambie Engineering designs and makes the periphery equipment necessary to run the robotic device in a production cell.


Robotics, Lambie says, can be used to perform jobs that are repetitive, dirty, or dangerous for humans to do.


“In a lot of cases, there are really tedious jobs, very repetitive,” Lambie says. “A robot can be used to automate those very repetitive tasks. That can be less expensive than the labor, depending on the situation. If the volumes are sufficient enough, we can replace labor with machine. It can also be dirty or dangerous, so for a safety standpoint, we may want to use automation.”


Lambie says the company doesn’t use robotics in its machines to replace human labor altogether, but rather to streamline the manufacturing process.


“We don’t want to automate to get rid of people,” he says. “We want to automate to grow, so we can use our human labor where it’s needed more.”


For the future, the company is focused on building its customer base, Lambie says. “Things are evolving,” he says. “We’re supporting more manufacturing companies.” However, Lambie says, right-sized equipment can sometimes be a tough sell to companies that aren’t familiar with the practice.


“We’re looking to take our niche and move into other markets,” he says.


He says the business also is looking to obtain an AS (90) 100 certification so it can pursue projects with Boeing. The AS (90) 100 is a quality systems certification, Lambie said.


To become certified, the company needs to have documented quality systems in place that meets the standards of the certification. Lambie says a consultant will be visiting the company on Nov. 15 to get the process started.

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Leasing and Development
Sep/09/2013

Lambie LLC gets new Valley office

by Bert Caldwell
Here's the Dirt Weekly Report
The Spokesman Review

Lambie Engineering, LLC has leased approximately 1,250 square feet of space in Building S6 in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park at 3020 N. Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley.

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The company provides engineering and machine assembly services.

It moved from a previous Spokane Valley location, to take advantage of shop space in the park. The firm has four full time employees.

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Leasing and Development
Aug/04/2013

Two new leases at business park

by Bert Caldwell

Here's the Dirt Weekly Report
The Spokesman Review

Two new businesses are leasing space at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park in Spokane Valley.

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Motorsports warehousing and transport company, KGM Assemblers Inc., is taking 12,000 square feet in the industrial park.

Also, Sandvik Mining and Construction USA LLC is leaing roughly 20,000 square feet. Sandvik, a global company, makes and sells a wide range of mining equipment and industrial matierials.

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Leasing and Development
Jul/18/2013

Spokane Business & Industrial Park sees activity come back slowly

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean
mikem@spokanejournal.com
Occupancy, revenues ascend, although still beneath 2005 levels


SPOKANE, WA- The Spokane Business & Industrial Park has seen its occupancy rate and revenues slowly improve over the last few years, although both measures have some ground to make up to reach prerecession levels, says Dean Stuart, director of marketing for Crown West Realty LLC, of Spokane Valley, which owns the 615-acre facility.

SBIP, headquartered at 3808 N. Sullivan, has a total of 5 million square feet of leaseable space in about 50 buildings. The Park currently has about 125 tenants.

"Given the economic climate we've had for the last six years, the occupancy rate is quite good at 91 percent," Stuart says.

Recent new tenants include Haywood, Calif.-based Coast Aluminum & Architectural Inc., which is leasing 24,000 square feet of floor space; Swedish company Sandvik Mining & Construction, leasing 20,000 square feet; and KGM Assemblers Inc., of Kent, Wash., leasing 12,000 square feet.

The peak occupancy at SBIP during Stuart's 13-year tenure with Crown West approached 96 percent in 2004 and 2005, he says.

After the recession hit, "It bottomed out in the neighborhood of 80 to 85 percent," he says. "In 2007 and 2008, a lot of companies went out of business, downsized, or left the market."

Now SBIP's annual revenues are trending upwards, though not at a steep rate, Stuart says.

Base lease rates fell by as much as 20 percent during the recession and have recovered only about halfway, he says, adding, "The pressure is still on keeping rents down."

That pressure can include tenant demands for a number of incentives and improvements.

"There are so many variables, every deal is different," he says. "The biggest concessions are in base rent and the length of lease terms."

Before the recession, five- and 10-year leases were the norm, Stuart says, adding that now, tenants are requesting one- or two-year leases.

"We don't like doing anything with less than three-year terms," he says. "If you have a property full of one- or two-year leases, it can be unstable, because there could be a lot of turnover all at once."

Stuart says SBIP rents are competitive, and Crown West regularly invests in the property to keep it updated.

Current monthly lease rates start at 18 cents per square foot for distribution and manufacturing space, he says. Annual rents for office and retail space range from $4.50 to $12 per square foot.

One good indicator that some current tenants are gaining confidence in the economy is they're expanding their current space, Stuart says.

Spokane-based companies Spokane Industries Inc., Hydrafab Northwest Inc., and Jubilant HollisterStier Contract & Manufacturing Services each recently expanded their respective leased space at SBIP by 20,000 square feet.

Spokane Industries now leases 260,000 square feet, Hydrafab leases 45,000 square feet, and Jubilant HollisterStier's expanded space at SBIP totals 40,000 square feet.

SBIP's largest tenant in terms of leased space is Inland Empire Distribution Systems, which occupies 300,000 square feet of floor space, Stuart says. On the other end of the scale, the park has tenants that lease spaces as small as 1,000 square feet, he says.

"We have a variety of different types of space," he says.

Stuart says one of the advantages the SBIP can offer is to increase space to accommodate tenants' growth.

"A lot of clients need more space in the middle of their lease," he says.

Other amenities at the park include on-site rail services and truck scales, Stuart says.

The tenant makeup in terms of industry sectors is 50 percent manufacturing, 40 percent distribution, and 10 percent retail and office.

"Manufacturing has gone down," he says. "In 2000, 65 percent of the occupancy was manufacturing."

Conversely, distribution and warehousing use has increased from 30 percent in 2000, and office and retail has increased from 5 percent.

SBIP has added more than 1 million square feet of space at the park since it bought the former U.S. Navy supply depot in 1997. Its most recently constructed building is a 110,000-square-foot distribution center, which was completed last year for American Tire Distributors Inc. in conjunction with a 12-year lease agreement with the Huntersville, N.C.-based company.

Stuart says Crown West has no plans on the horizon to construct more buildings at SBIP.

"At this point, we're out of available land," he says.

Stuart says Crown West is pursuing a number of prospects to lease additional space at SBIP. "I wouldn't count any now as highly likely, though," he says.

He asserts that demand is growing in the business community among companies that will need larger spaces, but many businesses are holding back due to uncertainty in the national political and financial outlooks.

"There's a lot of trepidation that's keeping people from taking action that they might take in a more certain environment," he says. "Sooner or later they are going to have to act, but right now a lot of people will just wait and see."

Crown West has a staff of about 40 people, fifteen of whom focus primarily on SBIP. "A lot of accounting is handled out of Spokane for properties all over the country," he says.

Crown West, a subsidiary of New York-based real estate investment company Petrus Partners Ltd., owns and manages about 3 million square feet of building space outside of SBIP.

"We have staff in Phoenix and Denver, and the East Coast is handled out of New York, he says.

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Leasing and Development
Jun/20/2013

Manufacturer adds space, filter system

Journal of Business

By Jessica Valencia
jessicav@spokanejournal.com


Spokane Industries sees employment hold steady after sizeable jump last year


SPOKANE, WA- Spokane Industries Inc., a castings and metal fabricated products manufacturer recently installed a sizeable air filtration upgrade at one of its divisions, after expanding into available vacant space at its expansive quarters in Spokane Valley.

Spokane Industries occupies portions of three buildings in the northeast corner of the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan. The 250,000-square-foot facility is served by rail cars and big rigs that carry away finished products and also feed thousands of pounds of scrap metal into furnaces that will eventually turn the loads into molten metal.

The company, which operates three manufacturing divisions, employs about 300 people, says company spokesman Richard Palmer. That number is on par with 2012 but a sizeable increase compared with 2011, when it employed 230 people, according to data supplied by the company for the Journal's leading Spokane manufacturers list published in May of that year.

The company declines to disclose its revenue, but Palmer says the manufacturer is reliant on its biggest customer, Caterpillar, Inc., based out of Peoria, Ill.

"When Cat is doing well, we're doing well," Palmer says.

Palmer says all three divisions have performed well so far in 2013, adding that "The graphs have all been heading upwards over the least year."

The company installed the new industrial-sized air filtration system, also known as a baghouse, onto a building that its precision castings division occupies. That's one of three divisions that Spokane Industries operates.

Palmer declined to disclose the cost of the system.

The upgrade enables the company to filter out fine particulates and other pollutants generated in the production process at that division, improving the comfort and safety of its employees, and more than triples the filtration capacity of the former system, the company says. The new filtration system installed earlier this year is in addition to a much smaller air filtration system it had been using previously.

The system, situated on the northern side of the precision castings building, is a square blue tower that stretches to the roof of the plant. It enables the manufacturer to filter particulates out of air in a recent 10,000-square-foot expansion into existing vacant space at the building, in addition to a space it currently uses at the plant.

Along with the precision castings division, the company's two other divisions are steel castings division, which generates about two-thirds of the company's revenue, and the metal products division.

The steel castings division, the company's oldest division, focuses on making metal castings of parts for the construction, mining, and transportation industries, among others, he says.

The manufacturer also casts wear parts, which are parts used in heavy machinery that wear down over time due to continual use and friction, such as steel bars used to crush rock. Those bars can be melted down and recycled into other metal products, he says.

The precision castings division, Spokane Industries newest division that formed more than 20 years ago, manufactures much smaller metal parts used in applications such as hinges for dental office chairs and the articulating arms that hold dental tools, Palmer says. It also manufactures small wear parts used in the mining and construction industries in different types of metal, including stainless steel and brass parts that are formed using wax and ceramic molds.

The third division, created more than 30 years ago, specializes in steel tanks used by wineries and breweries. It also builds vessels for more industrial purposes, such as truck bed water tanks and fuel tanks.

"The metal products division, they live and die by the grape growing season," Palmer says, adding that its other customers help supplement its business with wineries. The tanks can be made as large as requested by a customer - as long as it's able to be rolled out through the division's roughly 20-foot wide bay doors, he says.

Palmer says Spokane Industries took a hit during the recession, particularly when Caterpillar began cutting back on orders because of the economy.

"Our biggest customer just went away," Palmer says of Caterpillar during that time. "You don't know if it's going to come back."

Palmer says the company has since started to recover due in part to an increase in international sales.

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Leasing and Development
Jun/06/2013

Absco Alarms anticipates continued growth

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean
mikem@spokanejournal.com
Absco Alarms anticipates continued growth as it debuts second outlet here


SPOKANE, WA- Absco Alarms Inc., a Lynnwood, Wash.-based supplier of security surveillance systems, has leased 1,600 square feet of space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park at 3020 N. Sullivan, in Spokane Valley, where it has opened a Spokane sales and installation outlet says Erick Slabaugh, Absco's CEO.

The company specializes in providing security systems for commercial, industrial, and government campus applications, Slabaugh says.

"We've done work in Spokane over the years, although we haven't had a physical presence in Spokane," he says.

Dean Stuart, director of marketing with the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, and Sam Morse, of the Spokane commercial real estate brokerage Cantu Commercial Properties LLC, negotiated the lease.

Absco currently employs a sales person and an installer at the Valley location, and likely will hire more people here before year-end, Slabaugh says.

"I think we'll add another salesperson in the next couple of months and then a couple of technicians," he says. "The volume we're doing east of the mountains is continuing to increase."

Slabaugh says Absco's 2012 revenues were 57 percent higher than the year-earlier revenues, and he's expecting another increase this year of at lease 33 percent.

The Valley location is Absco's second outlet and the company hopes to open additional outlets, he says.

"We got some expansion plans over the next couple of years," Slabaugh says. "The next location probably will be in Portland, but we're still doing market research."

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