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CoorsTek, Inc. is a privately owned manufacturer of technical ceramics for aerospace, automotive, chemical, electronics, medical, metallurgical, oil and gas, semiconductor and many other industries. CoorsTek headquarters and primary factories are located in Golden, Colorado, USA, near the foothills west of Denver. The company is wholly owned by Keystone Holdings LLC, a trust of the Coors family. The president and chairman is John K. Coors,[2] a great-grandson of founder and brewing magnate Adolph Coors, Sr., and the fifth and youngest son of longtime chairman and president Joseph Coors.

CoorsTek, Inc.
Private
IndustryTechnical Ceramics for semiconductor, automotive, medical, oil and gas and many other industries
Founded(1910 (1910)), Golden, Colorado, U.S.
Founders
Headquarters
Golden, CO
,
United States
Number of locations
61
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Jonathan Coors, (CO-CEO)
  • Michael Coors, (CO-CEO)
  • Timothy I. Coors, (CO-CEO)
  • John K. Coors, (Chairman)
ProductsEngineered Ceramics
Services
  • Ceramic powder processing
  • Analytical laboratories
RevenueUS$820 million (estimate)[1]
OwnerThe Coors family
Number of employees
5,900 (2015)
Divisions
  • Structural Ceramics
  • Electronic Ceramics
  • Vehicle & Personal Armor
Subsidiaries
  • Ceramatec
  • DEW Engineering
  • EmiSense
  • Select Ion
  • CoorsTek Medical
Websitecoorstek.com

HistoryEdit

Adolph Coors and John HeroldEdit

Prussian-born Adolph Coors (1847–1929) opened the Colorado Glass Works in 1887 to manufacture beer bottles for his brewery, the Adolph Coors Brewing Company, west of Denver. In 1888, the glass works, incorporated as Coors, Binder & Co., was idled by a strike and never re-opened.[3], [4] The Glass Works was leased to Austrian-born John J. Herold (1871-1923) in 1910, who incorporated the Herold China and Pottery Company on the site at 600 Ninth St in Golden.[5] Herold used clay from nearby mines to make dinnerware and heat-resistant porcelain ovenware under the trademark Herold Fireproof China, with financial support from Coors.[6] The now-abandoned clay pits form the western boundary of the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) campus. CSM professor Herman Fleck helped Herold perfect his glazing technique.[7] Adolph Coors became the majority stockholder and was elected to the board of directors of Herold China in 1912. John Herold resigned in 1912 due to tuberculosis and other health concerns, and Adolph Coors Company acquired Herold China in 1914. Herold returned later in 1914 to manage the plant, but left permanently in 1915 for the Guernsey Earthenware Co. in Cambridge, OH.[6] Adolph Coors II (1884-1970) was the first vice-president (VP) and general manager (GM).[4]:39 CSM evaluated Fireproof China for industrial applications in 1914, and found it suitable.[3] The company began producing chemical porcelain in 1915 as a result of a World War I embargo on German imports. Adolph Coors’ third son, Herman F. Coors (1890-1967), was named manager in 1916. Employment increased from 37 employees in 1915 to 75 in 1917.[4]:39 Herold China was renamed Coors Porcelain Company in 1920, and the trademark "Coors U.S.A." was first used.[8] The Rocky Mountain Bottle Company, maker of Coors beer bottles in nearby Wheat Ridge and a joint venture with Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., came long after Coors, Binder & Co., and has never been affiliated with Coors Porcelain.[9]

Rosebud china and Prohibition after WW1Edit

After World War I, Coors Porcelain made fine china and cookware bearing the trademarks Rosebud, Glencoe Thermo-Porcelain, Coorado, Mello-Tone and others.[3] During Prohibition, the ceramic business was largely what kept the parent company afloat. The original factory site at 600 Ninth St in Golden was the only Coors Porcelain facility until the 1970s, and remained the company headquarters until a new facility was built northeast of Golden in the early 1990s. The 440,000 sq ft (41,000 m2) Ninth St plant consists of several adjoining buildings that occupy four square blocks, and is still CoorsTek’s largest manufacturing site. Herman Coors managed the company in the early days. Herman’s older brother, Grover C. Coors (1888-1954), began the fledgling company’s foray into ceramic technology by inventing a tool for forming spark plug insulation in 1919.[10] Chemist Harold W. Ryland (1881-1966) was hired in 1923, and worked his way up to GM and VP of Porcelain and mayor of Golden 1939-45 before his 1957 retirement.[11] Germany became competitive once again in 1926, and put downward pressure on Coors' chemical porcelain business.[4]:46 Adolph I's death in 1929 put Adolph II solely in charge of the idled A. Coors Co. brewery and Porcelain both, until his sons Adolph III, Bill and Joe joined in the 1940s.

Herman Coors offered to buy Porcelain in the early 1920s after frequent management disagreements with his father and older brother, but was refused.[4]:45 Herman left in 1922[12] to develop clays mined by the Alberhill Coal and Clay Company for use in china that could compete with imports. He started the H.F. Coors China Company, a manufacturer of dishes for restaurants and institutional use, in Inglewood, CA, in 1925. Grover also had friction with Adolph Jr., left for California in 1924, and eventually became a representative for the brewery there.[4]:46 The H.F. Coors pottery's trademarks include Coorsite, Alox flatware and Chefsware.[3] Herman retired from Coors China in 1946, and was succeeded by his son Robert M. Coors (1920-2004). Robert's younger brother Dallas M. Coors was the VP. Robert retired in 1978, and sold the 125-employee company to Standex International Corporation.[13], [14] Standex was preparing to shut down Coors China and sell its property for redevelopment circa 2003. Mug-maker Catalina China Inc. of Tucson, AZ, acquired the assets of Coors China from Standex, and moved the company to Tucson in 100 truckloads over a two-month span in 2003. The assets included a 200-ft-long gas-fired tunnel kiln purchased in 1988 that was transported in 19 sections.[15] Coors China is not now nor has it ever been a subsidiary of CoorsTek or Adolph Coors Company, although it was a competitor of Porcelain in its early days.

 
Figure 1: CoorsTek ceramic products. All are glazed porcelain except C. A Fisher filtration funnel; B Buchner funnel; C 99.8% alumina crucible; D Desiccator plate; E Commemorative thimble-size stein for brewery visitors; F 95-mm diameter crucible rack.

Aluminum beer cansEdit

In the 1950s, Coors Porcelain’s parent company investigated the possibility of replacing steel beverage cans with aluminum ones, as part of a closed-loop recycling system. The effort was the brainchild of W.K. "Bill" Coors (1916-2018), the second son of Adolph II[16] and the vice-president of Porcelain. A Porcelain warehouse at the corner of Ninth St. and Washington Ave. in Golden was selected to house the pilot plant for the aluminum can line.[17] The first aluminum beer can was produced at the site in January 22, 1959. The closed-loop recycling program was initially started in 1960, but the overwhelming public response and lack of recycling infrastructure delayed its complete implementation. In 1970, Coors resumed their ambitious and aggressive program called "Cash for Cans", which operated throughout Coors' 11-state marketing area offering a penny a can. Coors success with the aluminum industry was a critical breakthrough in the development of America's recycling market and collection infrastructure. B.L. "Bob" Mornin (1924-1992), a ceramic engineer at Coors Porcelain since 1954,[18] was appointed manager of can production in 1963, and led it to profitability.[19] The can operation eventually outgrew the Porcelain building and moved into its present location east of the brewery in 1966.[19] The can, end and bottle factories were jointly managed by Joe Coors as Coors Container Company from 1971 to 1981.[19] Coors Brewing Company reorganized its 340-employee can, end and tab operations into a joint venture with the Ball Corporation in 2002, known as Rocky Mountain Metal Container LLC.[9], [20] Coors Ceramics began developing hot-pressed SiC-whisker-reinforced Al2O3 ceramic tooling for beverage can machinery in the 1990s.[21]

On January 22, 2009, the original Coors can plant was named an ASM Historical Landmark by the Board of Trustees of ASM International, for its role in ushering in the age of recyclable aluminum beverage containers.[22] The date marked the 50th anniversary of Coors' first aluminum can. The building is on the southwest corner of the CoorsTek complex at 600 Ninth St in Golden.

Ceramic technology and company growth after WW2Edit

The company gradually diversified its lines of technical ceramics before and especially after World War II. Bob Mornin was promoted to production superintendent in 1958.[23] The factory was enlarged by 40,000 ft2 in 1960.[24] Coors greatly expanded its product lines, reduced scrap and accelerated production with the aid of cold isostatic pressing in the 1940s; metallizing, tape casting and hot isostatic pressing in the 1950s; and multilayer ceramic capacitors in the 1960s. A four-story high, 32-ft diameter spray dryer with 5000 lb/hr capacity was installed in 1962.[25] Lawrence Radiation Laboratory awarded Coors a 2-year contract in 1963 to produce enriched urania-beryllia fuel elements for the Tory II-C nuclear ramjet engine, which increased employment by 230 to a then-record 1100 total.[26] High-alumina (85 to 99.9% Al2O3) ceramics replaced porcelain (mixed-oxide ceramics, e.g., mullite) in many thermomechanical, electrical and chemical applications. Coors engineers Vlad Wolkodoff[27] and Bob Weaver invented fully dense, glass-free 99.5+% Al2O3 ceramics in 1964, useful for many applications where porcelain is deficient.[28], [29] Growth in the 1970s enabled Coors to build the 150,000 ft2 electronic ceramics Clear Creek Valley Plant east of Golden in 1970,[30] and its first facility outside of Golden, an electronic substrate plant in Grand Junction, CO, in 1975.[31] Coors made its first purchase of a competitor when it bought Wilbanks Inc. of Hillsboro, OR, in 1973.[32] Two more competitors—Research Instrument Co. of Norman, OK, and Alumina Ceramics Inc. of Benton, AR—were acquired in 1975 and ‘76, resp.[33] Coors opened its first foreign factory in Glenrothes, Scotland, in 1981.[34] Two more foreign subsidiaries were acquired in the early 1980s, an electronic ceramics plant in Singapore and a paper-tooling plant in Brazil.[4]:100 Coors began making silicon carbide, silicon nitride, spinel, zirconia and several other ceramic products by the mid-1980s.

 
Figure 2: CoorsTek ceramic products. A Porcelain pestle; B Porcelain mortar; C Glazed porcelain casserole; D Glazed porcelain 100-mm long boat; E TTZ (toughened zirconia) putter;[35] F 99.8% alumina tray. Scale: the coin between E & F is a U.S. quarter.

The Joe Coors eraEdit

Joseph "Joe" Coors, Sr. (1917–2003), third son of Adolph II, joined Porcelain in 1940 after graduation from Cornell University and stints at DuPont and National Dairy Products Corp.[36] He was promoted to president in 1946, and became a member of the board of directors and an executive of Adolph Coors Company as well in 1952. Joe was named a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) in 1967,[37] and an Honorary Member of ACerS in 1985.[38]

Coors Porcelain becomes Coors CeramicsEdit

Coors Porcelain was renamed Coors Ceramics Company in 1986, shortly after Joseph Coors, Jr. (1942-2016),[39], [40] succeeded R. Derald Whiting (1923-1995) as president.[41] At the time, porcelain was a small part of the 12-plant, 2200-employee company's output. High-alumina ceramics were and remain the company's primary products. Joe Jr., a mathematician and quality engineer, had been at Wilbanks 1973-84 and was its president 1980-84, and the vice-president for quality at Coors Porcelain 1984-5 prior to his promotion.[42] Joe Jr. promptly reorganized the company into two divisions, Electronic and Structural.

Chaired professor and ceramic research at CSMEdit

Janet H. Coors (1912-1994), widow of Herman Coors, endowed the Colorado Center for Advanced Ceramics (CCAC) at the Colorado School of Mines in 1988 with $2 million, and established the H.F. Coors Distinguished Professor of Ceramic Engineering chair.[43] Coors executive David G. Wirth, Jr. (1937-2017), was appointed as the first director of CCAC. Dennis W. Readey left Ohio State University to become the first Coors Professor and succeeded Wirth as director of CCAC.[44] Readey, a Fellow of ACerS, served as president of ACerS in 1991-2, and was named a Distinguished Life Member of ACerS in 2002.[45] Upon his retirement, Readey was succeeded as Coors Professor by Nigel Sammes, and as director of CCAC by Ivar Reimanis. Reimanis was promoted to the Coors Chair in 2012 upon Sammes' retirement.[46]

John Coors earned his B.Sc. in chemical engineering at CSM in 1977, the first of eleven Coors family members to graduate from Mines as of 2014.[7] W. Grover Coors, a brother of John, earned his Ph.D. at CSM in 2001[47] and has been a research professor in CCAC as well as an employee of CoorsTek.[48] VP Doug Coors holds a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics, Co-CEO Michael Coors holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, and Co-CEO Timothy Coors (son of Jeff) a B.Sc. in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering, from Mines.

CoorsTek endowed CSM with $26.9 million, the largest in Mines' history, for the construction of the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering, in September 2014. Ground was broken for the new 95,000 sq. ft. (8800 m2) building on 2 May 2016 on the former site of Meyer Hall, the home of the physics department. CoorsTek employed about 50 CSM alumni at the time of the announcement.[7],[49]

The Coors empire separatesEdit

Adolph Coors Company became a holding company in 1989, with Coors Brewing Company as its largest subsidiary. The non-brewing subsidiaries were spun off late in 1992 under a new holding company, ACX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ACX), with Bill Coors as chairman of both holding companies.[36] The key subsidiaries of ACX were Coors Ceramics Co.; Graphic Packaging International Inc., with Joe Jr.’s younger brother J.H. "Jeff" Coors as chairman and president; Golden Technologies Company (GTC), a collection of R&D projects headed by former Wilbanks executive Dean Rulis; and Golden Aluminum Company, with Joe Jr. as its interim president.[50] Most of the ceramics-related GTC projects were folded into Coors Ceramics, while others were sold to investors or shut down with the demise of GTC in the late 1990s. Golden Aluminum was sold to Alcoa in 1999,[51] and is now an independent remelter and rolling mill in Fort Lupton, CO. Graphic Pkg., previously Coors Packaging Co. 1974-88, merged with Riverwood International Corp. in 2003[52] and moved its headquarters to suburban Atlanta,[53] but kept a 250-employee plant in Golden until 2010 that supplied paperboard packaging for Coors beer.[54] ACX and Adolph Coors Co. had many common stockholders including the Coors family, but were otherwise entirely independent of one another. Coors Ceramics Co. was no longer affiliated with the Coors brewery. Coors Ceramics' headquarters moved from Ninth St. in Golden to a new building in the Coors Technology Center in an unincorporated area northeast of Golden.[55], [56]

Acquisitions and diversificationEdit

In an effort to broaden its business beyond mostly structural and insulating ceramics, Coors Ceramics made several acquisitions in the late 1990s, especially of suppliers to the semiconductor industry. Coors acquired plastics manufacturer Tetrafluor Inc. of El Segundo, CA, in August 1997 for $15.8 million. Coors bought precision machine shops Edwards Enterprises of Newark, CA, and Precision Technologies of Livermore, CA, in March 1998 for $18M and $22M, respectively. Coors acquired ceramic maker Doo Young Semitek Co., Ltd., of Kyungbook, South Korea, for $3.6M in December 1999. Coors purchased machine shop Liberty Machine Inc. of Fremont, CA, for $4M in March 2000.[57] In 1993, Coors sold its ceramic subsidiaries in Ocean Springs, MS and Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil.[50] CoorsTek bought BAE Systems' 105-employee, 106,000-ft2 Advanced Ceramics in Vista, CA, in 2011 for $7M, and added product lines in body armor, helicopter seat plating and ceramic heaters.[58] In September 2013 CoorsTek purchased Innovative Medical Device Solutions (IMDS) of Fort Worth, TX, for an undisclosed amount, merged it with C5 Medical Werks of Colorado, and created a new subsidiary, CoorsTek Medical LLC.[59]

Coors Ceramics becomes CoorsTekEdit

In 2000, ACX was dissolved and Coors Ceramics became an independent, publicly traded company under the name CoorsTek, Inc.[60], [61] Annual revenue was $334M and an operating loss of $32M was reported for 1999.[62] CoorsTek was traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol CRTK. Joe Jr. retired as chairman of CoorsTek in 2000, and was succeeded by his younger brother John (b. 1956).[63] John had been president since Oct 1998.[64] Revenue jumped to $540M in 2000, with record operating income of $58.0M.[65] Worldwide employment declined in 2001 from 4200 at the beginning of the year to 2400 in mid-2002, due largely to a semiconductor industry slump.[66] Keystone Holdings LLC, a trust of the Coors family that owned 27% of CoorsTek stock, bought the remaining 73% it did not already own, and took the company private once again in 2003.[67]

Saint-Gobain acquisitionEdit

CoorsTek signed an agreement in June 2010 to buy certain assets of the Advanced Ceramics division of the French conglomerate Saint-Gobain.[68], [69] The Advanced Ceramics division employed 1200 workers worldwide, and 500 at six North American sites, at the time. CoorsTek gained ownership of several longtime competing brands, such as Cerbec Si3N4 bearings, Solcera and Cerastat. The transaction was completed in January 2011, with CoorsTek assuming ownership of six plants in Europe; four in the USA; one each in Canada, Mexico and Brazil; and sales offices in Japan, China, Taiwan and Singapore. The acquisition gave CoorsTek a total of 44 facilities on four continents, and increased capabilities in SiC, Si3N4, mullite and steatite.[70] Compagnie de Saint-Gobain retained ownership of its 22 High-Performance Refractories, Lo-Mass®, Carborundum Abrasive Products and Hexoloy® SiC products business sites.

Covalent Materials Corp. acquisitionEdit

CoorsTek acquired Covalent Materials Corp., formerly Toshiba Ceramics Co., and its three factories in Japan in December 2014 for ~$450M, the largest acquisition in CoorsTek's history.[62] The transaction gave CoorsTek over 50 production facilities in 14 countries on four continents, with over 6,000 employees. Covalent began as Toyo Fire Brick Company in 1918 in Tokyo, and later became Toshiba Refractories Co. Toshiba Refractories merged with Toshiba Denko to become Toshiba Ceramics Co., Ltd., in 1968, with factories in Oguno, Yamagata; Hatano, Kanagawa; and Kariya, Aichi. Covalent’s product line includes crucibles, heating elements, refractory bricks, and components for the semiconductor and flat panel display industries, made of silicon carbide, boron carbide, alumina, graphite, yttria and silicon. Its trademarks include Cerasic, Sapphal, Exyria, Glassun, Neobone and Ceraphite.[71]

CoorsTek revenues increased to $1.25 billion since the Coors family-owned Keystone Trust bought all the stock in 2003. CoorsTek claims it has turned a net profit every single quarter since then. Forbes magazine estimated that CoorsTek's cash flow reached $340 million in 2015. CoorsTek was worth an estimated $2.5 billion in 2015, about $200M more than the family’s 16% stake in the brewery.[62]

Products and servicesEdit

  • 99.8% alumina tubing, crucibles and thermocouple sheaths
  • Analytical laboratories specializing in ceramic products[72]
  • Cera-Check™ beams for coordinate measuring machines
  • CeraShield™ ceramic armor
  • CeraSurf-p™ alumina-zirconia hip replacement[73]
  • Ceramic powder preparation, including ball milling and spray drying
  • Cera-Slide™ paper-making tooling
  • Coors USA™ laboratory wares
  • Cyclone liners and wear-resistant tiles for effluent separation and mineral dressing
  • Electronic 96% alumina substrates[74] and ceramic dual in-line packages
  • Exhaust port liners and other engine components
  • Grinding media[75]
  • Kiln furniture, heat exchangers, refractories
  • Metallized waveguides and stand-off insulators for electric power transmission and telecommunications
  • Micro-filtration devices for medical applications
  • Proppants for fracking
  • Pump plungers and seal rings
  • Valve plates for washerless faucets
  • Wire-drawing capstans and dies
  • Zirconia oxygen sensors

SubsidiariesEdit

 
Facility in Hillsboro, Oregon

Subsidiaries and Outlying OperationsEdit

Benton, AR Formerly Alumina Ceramics, Inc.[76] Reaction-bonded SiC seal rings.
El Segundo and Fremont, CA Formerly Tetrafluor Inc. and Liberty Machine Inc.
Vista, CA Formerly BAE Systems[77] and Cercom Inc.
Arvada, CO CoorsTek Specialty Chemicals; formerly Boulder Ionics.[78]
Golden, CO Headquarters, R&D, alumina and porcelain lab wares, HIP, injection moulding.
Golden, CO Outlast Technologies LLC. Temperature-regulating textiles.
Grand Junction, CO Formerly C5 Medical Werks, now the Bioceramics part of CoorsTek Medical LLC.[79]
Grand Junction, CO Thick-film 96% alumina substrates, fiber-optic ferrules, micro-extrusions.[80]
East Granby, CT Formerly Norton Co. Si3N4 bearings.
Worcester, MA Originally Norton Emery Wheel Co.
Milford, NH Formerly Norton Co. PbMgNbO3 igniters.
Oklahoma City, OK Formerly RI Ceramic Co. of Norman, OK, and HB Co. Alumina pump components.
Tulsa, OK Tulsa Machine Works & Manufacturing
Hillsboro, OR Formerly Wilbanks, Inc. Alumina tooling for paper mills and metrology.
Oak Ridge, TN Formerly Coors Technical Ceramics Co.[81]
Austin, Houston[82] and Odessa, TX Petrochemical, oil and gas hardware and services.
Fort Worth, TX CoorsTek Medical LLC headquarters.[83] Formerly IMDS.
Salt Lake City, UT Ceramatec, Inc.[84]
Edmonton, AB, Canada Petrochemical, oil and gas hardware
Cambridge, ON, Canada BLS Textiles, Inc.[85]
London, ON, Canada Formerly Advance Manufacturing Technologies ULC (AMT)[86]
Ottawa, ON, Canada DEW Engineering and Development Ltd.[87]
Paris, ON, Canada CoorsTek Advanced Ceramics Hamilton ULC, foundry filters, formerly Hamilton Pottery Co.
Tampere, Finland CoorsTek Sensors; formerly Pegasor, Oy.
Bindlach, Bavaria, Germany ANCeram GmbH & Co. KG[88], [89]
Lauf an der Pegnitz, Bavaria, Germany Formerly Stettner & Co. GmbH. Steatite «(MgO)3(SiO2)4» products.
Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Formerly Carborundum Abrasives.
Oguno, Yamagata; Hatano, Kanagawa; and Kariya, Aichi, Japan Formerly Covalent Materials Corp., Toshiba Ceramics Co.[71] Electronic ceramics, R&D and refractories.
Tokyo; Tokuyama, Yamaguchi; and Nagasaki, Japan Formerly Saint-Gobain. Japan HQ, quartz glass and photomask substrates.
Gumi City, Korea CoorsTek Korea[90]
Kyungbook, Korea Formerly Doo Young Semitek Co., Ltd.
Seongnam, Korea Motor actuator assemblies.
San Luis Potosí, Mexico Formerly Saint-Gobain. Inspection and assembly of igniters and silicon nitride bearings.
Uden, Netherlands Formerly the ceramics operation of Philips. [91] European R&D center.[92]
Robertsfors, Sweden Large-scale silicon nitride balls.
Crewe, Cheshire, England, UK Dynamic-Ceramic Ltd.[93] Petrochemical, oil and gas hardware.[94]
Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, UK Formerly VZS-Seagoe Advanced Ceramics Ltd.[95]
Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, UK Thick- and thin-film substrates.[96] CoorsTek's first foreign subsidiary, in 1981.
Manchester, England, UK Flowguard™ hydro-pneumatic pressure vessels, pulsation dampeners, suction stabilizers and surge absorbers.[97]

Former subsidiariesEdit

Alpha Optical Systems Inc. Ocean Springs, MS Spinel radomes
Ceram Corp.[98], [99] El Cajon, CA Grinding wheels
Ceramicon Designs Ltd.[100], [101] Golden, CO Ceramic golf club heads
Cercom, Inc.[102], [103] (Re-acquired as BAE in 2011.) Vista, CA Body armor, helicopter seat plating and ceramic heaters
Coban Industrial Ltda. (Moved to Vinhedo in 2004, re-acquired as part of S-G in 2010.) Rio Claro, SP, Brazil Pulp and paper tooling
Coors Biomedical Co. Lakewood, CO Dental crowns
Coors Ceramics Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd. Singapore Electronic ceramics
Coors Components, Inc.[104] (Sold in 1987.) Broomfield, CO Capacitors
Coors Electronic Package Co.[105], [106] Chattanooga, TN CERDIPs
Coors Optical Systems Co.[107] Golden, CO Spinel radomes
Gaiser® Precision Bonding Tools (Closed in 2019.) Ventura, CA Ceramic capillaries and nozzles
Humphreys Investment Co. Denver, CO Spiral separators
MicroLithics Corp.[108], [109] Golden, CO Multilayer interconnect boards
Resistant Materials Systems, Inc./Coors Wear Products, Inc.[110] Lawrence, PA Tile linings
Royal Worcester Industrial Ceramics, Ltd.[111] Tonyrefail, Wales

Alumina Ceramics, Inc.Edit

Robert L. Johnson founded Alumina Ceramics, Inc. (ACI) in Benton, AR, in 1971. Johnson had been a ceramic engineer and project director at the Alumina Research Division of Reynolds Metals Co. in nearby Bauxite, AR. One of ACI's first products was Saphrox 99.7% Al2O3 grinding media.[76] Johnson left ACI in 1974 to work for Motorola in Phoenix, AZ,[112] and was succeeded by Ken Holiman. Coors bought ACI in 1976, mostly for the seal ring specialty ACI had developed, and eventually moved most of its alumina and SiC seal operations to Arkansas. In 2019, CoorsTek invested $26M and added 50,000 ft2 to the 180,000 ft2, 200-employee Arkansas operation, in anticipation of growth in its aerospace and defense markets.[113]

Ceramatec, Inc.Edit

Ceramatec was founded in Salt Lake City in 1976 by University of Utah Professors Ronald S. Gordon, Al Sossin and Anil V. Virkar, to develop liquid-core, sodium-sulfur batteries for automotive applications.[114] Gordon was the first president. The battery uses a beta-alumina solid electrolyte (BASE) ceramic membrane to separate the sulfur anode and sodium cathode. Donald L. Heath, a former Coors Porcelain employee, became president in 1985 and moved the company to a larger building.[115] David W. Richerson, author of Modern Ceramic Engineering (2nd Ed., Marcel Dekker Inc., 1992), was hired in 1985 and became the VP for applied technology until he left in 1992.[116] Ceramatec was bought by Elkem Metals Co., from a 10% stake in 1982 to full ownership in 1989.[117] Petter Oygarden of Elkem became the president in 1989 and guided the company to profitability by 1992, when Ceramatec had 120 employees and $12M in revenue.[118] Ashok V. Joshi, an expert in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and the VP, bought the company from Elkem in 1999 and became president in 2000. Joshi won the Utah Governor's Medal for Science and Technology in 2003, and the IRI Achievement Award in 2010. CoorsTek acquired the 165-employee operation in 2008 to be one of its R&D centers, with Joshi continuing as interim president and D.M. "Doug" Coors (son of Joe Jr.) as manager of R&D and later president. CoorsTek launched a joint venture with Innovate! Technology in Ladera Ranch, CA, in 2009, EmiSense Technologies LLC, to commercialize emissions sensors developed by Ceramatec.[119] A new subsidiary, CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, was launched in 2015 to commercialize BASE, SOFC and other ion-separating technologies developed by Ceramatec, under the direction of Per Christian Vestre.[120]

Coors Biomedical CompanyEdit

Coors Biomedical Co., a 35-employee Porcelain subsidiary founded in 1980 in nearby Lakewood, CO, under the direction of Jim Stephan, developed a low-shrinkage, high-alumina porcelain[121] for dental restorations in the early 1980s, that could be fitted and fabricated in the dentist’s office.[122] The product, sold under the name Cerestore™, raised some concerns among dentists for its wear on opposing teeth and its accuracy of fit.[123], [124] Coors Biomedical was also developing synthetic bone-grafting technologies. The technology became the property of Johnson & Johnson after Coors Biomedical closed in the late 1980s.

Coors Ceramics U.K., Ltd.Edit

Coors Porcelain opened its first foreign subsidiary, Coors Ceramics U.K. Ltd. (CCUK), in the Southfield Industrial Estate in Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, in 1981. A key function of the site was to act as the sales and marketing facility for the European market. CCUK grew when Porcelain acquired Royal Worcester Industrial Ceramics Ltd. in Wales in 1984.[125] Former CoorsTek President Derek C. Johnson began his Coors career as an electrical engineer at CCUK in 1984. CCUK was reorganized in 1988 as Coors Ceramics Electronics Ltd. (CCEL), with product lines mostly similar to those of the Coors plant in Grand Junction, namely roll-compacted, laser-drilled, thick-film 96% alumina substrates for hybrid circuits.[126] CCEL added 99.6% alumina thin-film substrates in 1991. CCEL, with 51 employees managed by Ken Henderson, received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1992, for its record exports of lasered ceramic substrates.[127] CCEL acquired neighboring property in late 1992 and tripled its manufacturing operations to 30,000 sq ft (2,800 m2).

VZS/Seagoe Advanced Ceramics Ltd. made ceramics products in Glenrothes, including stand-off insulators, switch gears, circuit breakers, ball valves, pump shafts and bearings, trays and boiler ferrules. Its products were used in semiconductor, defense, chemical, laser, electrical, textile, and paper applications. Seagoe began as George Wade & Sons Ltd. in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. In December 1994, W. Laurie Hoskisson led the management buyout of VZS Technical Ceramics Ltd. from the Cookson Group and was appointed Managing Director. Hoskisson helped negotiate the merger of VZS Technical Ceramics of Glenrothes with Seagoe Advanced Ceramics of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, in January 1998. The Irish factory closed in 2002.[128] CCEL acquired its 4000-m2 neighbor and competitor, managed by Hoskisson, from Beauford plc in 2006. Hoskisson worked for CCUK beginning in 1981 as Production Manager, before he was hired by VZS. In 2017, the 70-employee operation, managed by Mark Cameron, signed a contract to manufacture ceramic components for Teledyne e2v's radiotherapy machines.[129]

Coors Technical Ceramics CompanyEdit

Coors built a $1-2M, 2800-3700 m2 factory in Oak Ridge, TN, in early 1990, known as Coors Technical Ceramics Company (CTCC). The 40-employee Oak Ridge plant was considered an extension of Coors' Oklahoma subsidiary, R.I. Ceramic Co., with William A. "Woodie" Howe (1942-2006) managing both operations and reporting to John Jenkins, VP and GM of Coors Ceramics Structural Division. Some unspecified Y-12 product lines from Cercom in Vista, CA, were moved to Oak Ridge, along with key employees from Norman. The Tennessee location was chosen to take advantage of the technology transfer programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Temperature Materials Lab.[81] Howe, a Coors employee from 1962 to 1999, was promoted to VP of the Structural Products Group in 1996, which included CTCC operations in Tennessee, Oklahoma, California and Texas, and ACI in Arkansas.[130] Later in 1996, CTCC acquired HB Company Inc., a manufacturer of petrochemical pump components, giving CTCC additional facilities in Oklahoma City, Odessa, TX, and Red Deer, AB, Canada.[131]

CoorsTek Medical LLCEdit

A growing demand for ceramic implantable medical devices led J.B. "Brad" Coors (son of Joe Jr.) to open C5 Medical Werks Inc. in western Colorado in 2005 next to CoorsTek's Grand Junction factory that opened in 1975. CoorsTek acquired Fort Worth-based IMDS in 2013, and merged the two to create 400-employee CoorsTek Medical LLC, under the direction of Jonathan Coors, son of John.[132] CoorsTek Medical has operations in Chandler, AZ, Vandalia, OH, Molalla, OR, Logan, UT and Providence, UT, in addition to Texas and Colorado. Products include artificial joints, components for medical machines and implantable screws, rods and plates. The 88,000-ft2 former IMDS Vandalia site in suburban Dayton is the largest CoorsTek Medical location with 200 employees.[133] The 12-employee, 9000-ft2 Chandler site in suburban Phoenix, begun by IMDS in 2006, is primarily a prototype design and construction operation.[134] The former C5MW site produces components for hip and knee joints, disc replacements in spine surgery, seeds for brachytherapy, cochlear implants, neuro-stimulators, neuro-sensors and crowns, bridges, abutments and implants for dental applications.[135] The Colorado plant added ceramic injection molding capabilities in 2008.[136]

R.I. Ceramic CompanyEdit

Francis "Frank" Maginnis (1925-2018) left the University of Oklahoma Physics Dept. machine shop to start Research Instrument Company in Norman, OK, in 1958 to produce components for oil-field pumps.[137], [138] In 1966, Maginnis developed a way of making alumina pump plungers for the oil and gas industries, replacing steel and other metals that corroded too easily. Sales grew over the next eight years at a rate of 70-80% per year. The company was acquired by Coors Porcelain in 1975, primarily for the product line of ceramic plungers used in reciprocating pumps in secondary oil recovery processes, and ceramic ball valves. Coors renamed the company R.I. Ceramic Company in 1978. The acquisition gave Coors product lines that would have cost ~ten times as much to develop, and an inventory of products to address buyers' immediate needs. Before the acquisition, the delivery time in Golden for ceramic pump components was months, whereas with R.I. it was closer to a week. Woodie Howe was promoted from the metallizing department supervisor in Golden to president of R.I. in 1980. R.I. had about 40 employees in the mid-1980s. Former CoorsTek Chief Operating Officer J. Mark Chenoweth began his Coors career as a machinist at R.I. in 1986.[139] The 1996 acquisition of HB Company's newer operation in Oklahoma City led to closure of the plant in Norman and its relocation to the state capital.

Wilbanks International, Inc.Edit

William H. Wilbanks (1927-2006), Tom Stuart and Frank C. Erzen founded Wilbanks Inc. in 1963 in Hillsboro, OR, to manufacture ceramic components for the pulp and paper industries. The components included suction box covers, foil sections, forming tables and cleaning cones. The plant was originally located at 26900 S. W. Tualatin Valley Hwy. in Hillsboro, before moving to its present site in the Hawthorn Farm Industrial Park on 53rd Ave. Coors Porcelain acquired 40-employee Wilbanks in 1973, and modified its new subsidiary's name to Wilbanks International, Inc. Bill Wilbanks remained as president, while Coors employees G.G. Grimes and Shepard Sweeney were named VP & GM and secretary-treasurer, respectively. Coors president R.D. Whiting became the chairman of the executive committee.[32] Joe Coors Jr. was a quality engineer at Wilbanks 1973-84 and served as president 1980-84. Dean Rulis was the president of Wilbanks 1984-92. Bill Wilbanks, a ceramic engineer at Tektronix in Portland[140] before he started his namesake firm, managed the 170-employee Coban plant in Brazil in the mid-1980s until his retirement from Coors. Erzen, also a former Tektronix employee, served as engineering manager of Coban beginning in 1981.[141] CoorsTek sold its paper machine drainage elements operations in Hillsboro to the Coldwater Group in 2017. Coldwater moved the equipment to its Atlanta facility.[142]

PresidentsEdit

  • Adolph Coors I (1915–1929)
  • Adolph Coors II (1929–1946)
  • Joseph Coors, Sr. (1946–1972)
  • Robert Derald Whiting (1972–1985)
  • Joseph Coors, Jr. (1985–1992, 1997–2000)
  • James Wade (1992–1997)
  • John K. Coors (2000–2004)
  • Derek C. Johnson (2004–2005)
  • John K. Coors (2005 - )

External linksEdit

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