Marine manufacturer expands Tennessee plant

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An Oak Ridge, Tenn.-based manufacturing, technology and engineering company is doubling in size. Protomet Corp., the parent company of PTM Edge, provides high-precision production manufacturing for markets that include automotive, homeland security, medical and marine.

“Five years ago, the marine and boating markets took a real hit,” Protomet founder and president Jeff Bohanan said in a statement. “Some boat manufacturers saw an 80 to 90 percent drop in sales. A large number of people lost their jobs after virtually every boat manufacturer cut back. That downturn was particularly tough on East Tennessee.”

Protomet partners with company resident engineers to redesign parts for the manufacturing process that target the reduction of component costs by 10 to 75 percent. Because of the markets it serves — some particularly hard hit by economic conditions during the past five years — Protomet’s growth is an indication that some of those markets are making a turnaround.

This week, Protomet said it is more than doubling the size of its facilities, investing $6 million in the local economy, buying new equipment and adding at least 30 new jobs at its Oak Ridge headquarters. Protomet plans to move into the expanded facility before the end of the year.

“East Tennessee has a long history of being an innovation center, and Protomet has a culture of innovation and lean manufacturing,” Bohanan said. “We design innovation directly into our products and processes, and even package products in a way that better serves our customer’s needs. This has served to build strong strategic relationships.”

Protomet said it has had a 500 percent increase in sales since 2005 and now has its own proprietary line of products marketed under the PTMEdge Watersports brand, which makes and markets boating mirrors and wakeboard tower components for boats of all kinds.

Protomet’s 21,500-square-foot addition will begin by June and is expected to be finished by Dec. 31.

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