7/12/2017 – Crystal manufacturer expanding to second building in Granite Falls

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 by admin


July 12, 2017


A high-tech crystal-manufacturing plant in Granite Falls is living up to promises of expansion, if a few months behind schedule.


The facility opened in mid-2016 and now Hoffman Materials LLC, originally called Krystal Engineering, is expanding its operation into a building next door, off Timberbrook Lane, company CEO Mark Rauchfuss said. The company was originally based in Titusville, Fla., and Carlisle, Penn., but moved its base to Granite Falls, in part because of the much lower cost of electricity that is vital to the work.


The expansion means the Granite Falls facility will not only grow the crystals, but also process them to end products used for cellphones and communications in defense devices and lasers, among other applications.


The current building will continue to be used for the growing of the crystals, run by physicist brothers Isaac and Zachary Bryan, while the new building is where the crystals are “post-growth processed.”


The company will begin hiring for the new work in the fourth quarter of this year, Rauchfuss said. The number of workers will grow from the current five to about 30 over the next 18 months.


The processing of the crystals currently is done at the Pennsylvania plant, but by the end of the first quarter of 2018 all of the crystals grown in Granite Falls will be processed next door, Rauchfuss said.


After a slow start, with the first crystals grown in January, Rauchfuss said he expects sales revenue to double by the end of 2017, and nearly double that by then end of 2018.


“We’re doubling our crystal growth capacity. We already basically doubled it,” Zachary Bryan said.


In March 2016, the company was recommended for $10 million in industrial development revenue bonds to help pay for expansion, but the bonds have not been issued yet.


“There are certain conditions you have to fulfill,” Rauchfuss said. “And we’re running about six months to a year behind our schedule.”


While the product may be high-tech, Rauchfuss and the Bryans compare the process to that of a furniture factory, with cutting, edging, polishing, and finishing.


“It’s really just a glorified machine shop,” Isaac Bryan said.


“It’s the same concept. It’s just on a different scale,” Zachary Bryan added.


By Virginia Annable, (Lenoir) News-Topic



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