A delegation led by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce will sign a memorandum of understanding Monday with the goal of forging closer business ties to Quebec’s aerospace industry.
The Vermont Aerospace & Aviation Association, a division of the state chamber, is signing the memorandum with Aero Montreal, Quebec’s aerospace industry trade group.
The signing coincides with the opening of Aero Montreal’s International Aerospace Innovation Forum.
The objective of the agreement is to establish a U.S.-Canadian Aerospace Corridor that increases opportunities between Vermont’s and Canada’s aerospace sectors.
“We are very cognizant of the fact that we have a $22 billion Canadian aerospace industry about an hour and a half to the north,” Christopher Carrigan, the chamber’s vice president of business development, said Wednesday. “And there’s great opportunity to connect Vermont’s aerospace cluster with the Canadian aerospace industry for really enhanced supply chain opportunities.”
Carrigan said the memorandum has been in the works for two years, with the details worked out this summer at the Paris Air Show.
The chamber will be joined at the event by the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development along with nine Vermont companies.
One of those companies is Kalow Technologies, a North Clarendon contract manufacturer.
Kalow Technologies President Paul Van Huis said the Montreal event is part of the company’s effort to diversify its customer base. While business is good right now, he said 95 percent of its business is tied to one customer, making packaging equipment.
In the past, the company has done work for Pratt & Whitney.
“If you don’t go, you don’t get any work, you don’t get any exposure,” Van Huis said. “In past years, we haven’t done a very good job just getting exposure to new possibilities, and that’s what this is all about.”
North Hartland Tool Corp. designs and manufactures precision tools for a variety of industries, including aerospace, medical equipment, computer, optics, automotive and precision instruments.
For North Hartland Tool, aerospace represents a significant part of the company’s business.
“It’s probably close to 50 percent of our business,” said John Mullin, company president.
Mullin said customers include GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and their subcontractors.
He said the agreement with Aero Montreal could open the door to contracts with Bombardier and other Canadian aerospace companies.
Another company making the trip to Montreal is Metal Flex Welded Bellows in Newport, which makes parts “specifically designed for valves and seals in pressure and vacuum applications,” according to the company’s website.
Those parts are used extensively in the semiconductor and aerospace industries.
Robert Guyer, general manager, said stainless steel bellows are a component in the deicing mechanism for the Boeing 747.
He said the company with its 35 employees also makes engine drain replacement parts for the F-16 fighter.
Guyer said he views the Montreal trade show as a way to get the company more exposure.
He said he’s scheduled to tour several Bombardier plants next week.
The Vermont chamber’s news release touted the $22 billion Canadian aerospace industry as the fifth largest in the world — home to Bombardier, Bell Helicopter Textron, CAE, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce Canada.
According to the chamber, most Canadian aerospace companies purchase more than half of their parts from the U.S.
Vermont’s $2 billion aerospace industry encompasses precision machining, maintenance, repair and overhaul, landing gear, fuel gauging, sensors, sensing systems, and electronics.
“We celebrate the MOU signing and look forward to forging a strong partnership with Aero Montreal in building an aerospace corridor for enhanced trade and integrated supply chain opportunities,” said Brian Dubie, chairman of the Vermont Aerospace & Aviation Association, in a statement. “Vermont’s large presence at the Innovation Forum with nine participating companies shows a strong commitment to this effort and partnership going forward.”
The chamber will follow up the signing with an Aerospace Supply Chain Summit at Burlington International Airport in January. The summit will feature the MACH Initiative — Aero Montreal’s supply chain optimization program to increase global competitiveness.
The event will be attended by U.S. and Canadian companies, including: U.S. Defense Logistics Agency; GE Aviation; Helicopter Support Inc., a Sikorsky Aerospace Services Co.; Honeywell Aerospace; and Netur.
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