Blue skies for Amalga Composites

By Kay Nolan,  June 24, 2011

Amalga Composites’ custom-engineered products are cruising the sky above Afghanistan in unmanned drones, gliding through the ocean as part of underwater testing equipment and slicing through the air as the sleek white blades of wind turbines.

It wasn’t always that way for the West Allis engineering and manufacturing firm.

The company has come a long way since its founding in 1966, during the post-World War II era when new uses were being sought for the materials developed in the aircraft industry.

Back in 1989, when Jim Dorman, Chairman and CEO, took over, Amalga Composites was largely focused on making small tubing for electrical components like fuses, along with black amalgon tubing for pneumatic cylinders. “Low profit margin and lots of competition,” is how Dorman, who rescued the company from bankruptcy, describes the small electrical component product line. Once 50 percent of the firm’s business, that line is gone, while the pneumatic tubing
line has expanded to 58 percent.