NDTS flying high: Local business experiences growthBlasting off into space, or taking off in an airplane, can be a risky venture.
Blasting off into space, or taking off in an airplane, can be a risky venture.
But a New Richmond company is working hard to make such travel a little safer.
Non Destructive Testing Solutions Inc., which has its corporate office in The Creamery building, is a growing business with some high-powered customers.
NDTS works with the likes of Boeing Company, NASA contractors and military clients to create inspection equipment for space vehicles and aircraft. They also have clients around the globe.
“We provide solutions to our customers,” said Jesse Skramstad, founder of NDTS. “And we’ve been growing in a distressed economy.”
According Skramstad, the company helps create testing systems that use technology like ultrasound, “eddy current” and thermography (infrared) to look deep within parts.
The company specializes in systems that inspect carbon fiber composites that are being used more extensively in modern aircraft.
“We’ve kind of got our niche,” Skramstad said. “We’ve fallen into that field somehow or other.”
In fact, their reputation for inspection expertise has been growing steadily.
Their high-tech scanners help manufacturers pinpoint problems in the production process that can lead to defects in parts and materials. The inspections can help avoid problems with parts that are eventually installed in airplanes and space craft. The equipment can also help detect problems with the bonding quality of two parts that are connected together.
“We can detect defects that the human eye can’t detect,” Skramstad said.
NDTS’s testing equipment is also used to inspect aerospace vehicles that are already flying. Skramstad said airplanes and space vehicles are required to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that structural and parts failures aren’t occurring that could lead to trouble.
“They have a certain inspection cycle they follow,” he said. “We look at the known weak spots.”
The company’s systems allow industry leaders to speed up the inspection process and thus save their clients money, Skramstad said. One inspection process that used to take three weeks to complete can be accomplished in a day, he noted.
“The return on investment is pretty easy to justify for customers,” he said.
Once aerospace manufacturers purchase the NDTS systems, Skramstad said the company provides technical support, maintenance and training to clients so they can make full use of the technology.
“We pride ourselves on customer service,” he said.
Skramstad, along with co-founder Rick Bode, started up NDTS 10 years ago. At that time it was just a part-time venture, as Skramstad worked full time as an inspector and in research and development employee with Northwest Airlines.
It’s now a very strong business. The company now employs nine people and also operates a prototype shop in Apple Valley, Minn.
“It’s amazing the talent pool that’s around this area,” he said. “New Richmond is an awesome place when you’re trying to attract new employees.”
With the growth NDTS has experienced over the past few months, Skramstad said he’s looking to expand the company’s space in The Creamery in the near future.
“We’ve easily outgrown our space already,” he said.
Skramstad, a native of the Star Prairie area and a Somerset High School graduate, got his start in the inspection process while serving in the Air Force.
“There were no degrees for inspection at that time,” he said. “I’m considered an old sage at this, which the old part doesn’t make me happy.”