$600K state equipment loan OK’d for expanding Unity testing firm | TribLIVE.com

$600K state equipment loan OK’d for expanding Unity testing firm

Jeff Himler
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Tom Blair, technical director at Product Evaluation Systems in Unity Township, opens a servo-hydraulic test frame machine to show where material is heat tested at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees and stress tested at up to 100,000 pounds of pressure. The company is expanding its facility this year with a new 12,000-square-foot building.

A low-interest state loan will help Product Evaluation Systems enhance its equipment as it completes an expansion of its plant in Unity.

Announced this week, the loan of almost $600,000 was approved by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority and will be drawn from its Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund.

Product Evaluation Systems tests materials for manufacturers in several industries to make sure they meet critical standards of strength and durability.

According to company President Walter Moorhead, the loan will help with about half of the $1.2 million Product Evaluation Systems plans to spend on new equipment.

“We’re moving into specialized testing for aerospace work,” Moorhead said. “This is to help us purchase specialty fatigue-testing frames.”

He said the 40-year-old company also is investing in equipment that will test materials used in making items with 3D printers.

“Some other equipment we’re picking up is to enhance what we already have,” he said.

Product Evaluation Systems has outgrown its existing 18,000-square-foot building on Donohoe Road. In September, the company was approved for a $1.05 million PIDA real estate loan to help with construction of a 12,500-square-foot steel building that is under way. A breezeway will connect the two buildings.

According to Moorhead, the equipment loan is to be repaid in 10 years, at an interest rate of 2.75%, while the real estate loan has a 15-year term and a 2% rate that will reset after seven years. Both loans were facilitated by the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland County.

Weather permitting, the new building should be under roof by the end of the month, allowing crews to work inside over the winter, Moorhead said. “There’s still a lot of buildout to do in the interior,” he said.

With the expansion, the company expects to retain 42 full-time jobs and create eight more within three years.

If all goes well, workers could be using the new building as early as March, Moorhead said.

He said the company believes the Unity Township Municipal Authority will complete extension of a sewer line along Donohoe and Buffenmeyer roads in time to serve the expanded plant, avoiding the need for installing a temporary sewage holding tank.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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