Royal has been located in Minden, Nebraska, for nearly 70 years. Royal first opened its doors after World War II as Royal Plastic Manufacturing and originally made plastic products such as soap dishes.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, and Stephen Gill ran this division through 1992. During this time, Royal acquired more aeronautic customers and was manufacturing primarily fiberglass covers and ducts 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 IIa global positioning satellite. In 2001, Royal reached a turning point. Believing they were vulnerable to low cost, low technology companies in other countries, Royal decided to develop its engineering capability. Royal now supplies primes 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 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.
In 2011, Royal added an additional 30,000 square feet to their current facility, bringing it to a total of 82,000 square feet. With this addition came a 12,000 square foot clean room and places to store Royal’s newest equipment: a 12’x30’ autoclave, a Flow Water Jet Cutter, and a ply cutting table with conveyor system.
Why did we change our name to Royal Engineered Composites?
Until 2010, Royal was known by its original name of Royal Plastic Mfg. The word ‘plastic’ lost its glamour in the 60’s; however, Royal mistakenly thought customers valued the company’s history as a pioneer. The change to Royal Engineered Composites reinforces Royal as an industry leader in the manufacture of composite materials and more accurately represents the company’s technical capabilities, state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and expertise.
Industry Leader in On-Time Performance
In 2005, Royal’s suppliers delivered 68% on-time and Royal delivered 84% on-time. Royal’s customers were not delighted. To change this, Royal invested in a constraints based scheduling system, rather than MRP/ERP system. With consistent effort, numbers began to improve. By 2010, on-time delivery to customers was at 98% and on-time delivery from suppliers was at 75%.
At Royal, we aim to set clear goals and hold people accountable.
“You develop a culture, accepted behaviors, and that is pivotal because it determines who stays employed and how they work.”
— Phillip C. Gill, President
Royal Engineered Composites is a strategic ally and trusted partner in relentless pursuit of our customers’ success.