Royal has been located in Minden, Nebraska, since 1949 Royal first opened its doors after World War II as ‘Royal Plastic Manufacturing’ and originally made plastic products such as soap dishes. In 1954, the company transferred to fiber glass reinforced parts.
According to local legend, a group of engineers from McDonnell Aircraft were boating in the nearby Harlan County Reservoir when their boat developed a serious leak. The group happened upon Royal’s founder and then owner, Harley Cole, who fixed their boat and subsequently was given an invitation to submit bids for making spare parts for McDonnell. Royal was awarded some contracts, and by 1958, the company was exclusively in the composites business.
After Mr. Cole passed away in 1978, California-based M.C. Gill Corporation acquired Royal. During this time, Royal acquired more aeronautic customers and was manufacturing primarily fiberglass covers and ductwork for military aircraft.
In 1990, Royal broke ground for a new 20,000 square foot. building. Shortly after, in 1993, Phillip Gill moved to Nebraska and took control of Royal, bringing with him business from California. This enabled Royal to double in size to 18 employees. With its owner on site, Royal embarked on reinvesting profits to develop technology and acquire the equipment necessary to allow it to grow and compete in the structural composites arena.
The company enjoyed continued growth, and in 1996, Royal purchased an autoclave and began making antennae for the GPS II, a global positioning satellite. In 2001, Royal started developing engineering capability and now supplies prime and second tier suppliers with both quality engineering and on-time production. Emphasis was placed on making parts requiring more sophisticated quality systems. By 2004, Royal had over 50 customers and was qualified to make structural graphite/epoxy parts for Boeing.
In 2006, Royal qualified to NADCAP and AS9100 quality standards for graphite epoxy. Two years later, Phil Gill established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and began selling shares of Royal to the employees. Royal expanded its plant to 52,000 square feet of building and employment reached 100.
Royal’s name was changed in 2010 from Royal Plastic Manufacturing to Royal Engineered Composites to more accurately reflect Royal’s business. In 2011, an additional 30,000 square feet were added to the current facility, bringing it to a total of 82,000. The addition featured a 12,000 square foot clean room, a 12’x30’ autoclave, a Flow Water Jet Cutter, and a ply cutting table with conveyor system.
When Phil exited the day-to-day operations in 2014, Dave Arnold stepped into the role of President. In preparation for new contracts and opportunities, Royal became certified to new specifications at various customers, including the addition of phased array inspection technologies and knowledge.
Now as a modern composites company serving the aerospace industry, Royal Engineered Composites is a strategic ally and trusted partner in the relentless pursuit of our customer’s success.