By Eric Peterson | Dec 18, 2022
The Beehive State is nothing if not industrious, and that extends to its booming manufacturing sector. Of the more than 60 Utah manufacturers CompanyWeek profiled in 2022, these 10 stand out.
Using vintage equipment to manufacture its products, the craft chocolatier owes its name to Aztec and Olmec rituals associated with cacao. "It had a lot of value to them," says co-founder Robbie Stout. And we wanted to reference that, since over the last 100 years cacao's value has essentially plummeted to next to nothing, thanks to the bigger companies who just tried to out-compete their competitors by making the price lower and lower and lower."
CompanyWeek profile (Feb. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/ritual-chocolate
The mission -- to reskill Price's workforce from coal mining into cut-and-sew manufacturing -- has gained traction. FIND has found plenty of brands looking to make products closer to home, including Pillow Cube, and is able to fulfill orders north of 10,000 units a week.
Founder and CEO Nicholina Womack sees a big opening to help outdoor brands manufacture domestically. "Tell Patagonia to give us a call," she says. "We need some of those bigger brands to put action behind their corporate-responsibility speak."
CompanyWeek profile (Feb. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/find-manufacturing
The company's novel technology synthesizes diesel fuel from waste gas from a wide range of applications from Earth to Mars. A key selling point: OxEon's products are much more flexible for energy storage than batteries. "Anybody that can burn diesel fuel can burn this, and it's considered to be a green fuel because it came from a waste product," says co-founder and CEO Lyman Frost.
CompanyWeek profile (March 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/oxeon-energy
The manufacturer of guitar strings moved from California to Utah in 2019 to catalyze growth. Cleartone bills its strings as "made by musicians for musicians," and that goes back to the company's founding by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers.
"We use a super high-tension winding process," says GM Michael Loscalzo, which results in "more winds in the same length of strings versus some of our competitors' -- and that, for the customer, means a punchier, slightly louder string for your guitar."
CompanyWeek profile (March 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/cleartone-strings
Ghost Boards went viral on TikTok when a customer posted a video of her transparent acrylic skateboard in 2020. Millions of views later, the company has grown its manufacturing footprint and expanded its catalog with LED-lighted boards and collaborations with artists.
"We're building into that next stage: a lifestyle brand," says co-founder and CEO Russ Warner. "That was my 2021 of brainstorming all of that, and now 2022 is full-bore moving forward for that whole lifestyle of Ghost Boards."
CompanyWeek profile (April 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/ghost-boards
The company's Total Integrated Panel System is disrupting tilt-up construction by using less concrete to make a stronger product. When the SMASH Lab at Utah State University tested the system in 2019, they couldn't break the panel.
"Things have just started to mushroom," says President Kim Blackburn, citing a vast market. "Last year across the U.S., there was over a billion square feet of tilt-up wall built. Precast is two times that."
CompanyWeek profile (April 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/innovative-structural-solutions
To eliminate bottlenecks in the front office, OSH Cut developed an online app to handle customer intake, design for manufacturability (DFM) checks, quoting, and other pre-production functions.
"It's completely automated," says co-founder Caleb Chamberlain. "We tried to make it as seamless an experience as possible. A customer can drag and drop a bunch of parts into our system, it analyzes the profiles. If it's a 3D model, it'll take the model and actually unfold it to create a flat pattern."
The company started with laser cutting and quickly expanded into deburring, powder coating, bending, and tapping. The result? Triple-digit growth in 2021, with more in the forecast.
CompanyWeek profile (July 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/osh-cut
Thanks to a shorter learning curve, skibiking is booming as other snowsports are flat. Leading the industry forward for the last decade, SNO-GO has helped move the needle at resorts: In 2016, skibikes were allowed at a handful of ski areas; now they're allowed at more than 200. The company recently reshored manufacturing from Asia after shipping woes stymied their 2021 line.
"It made a lot of sense to come back here," says co-founder Obed Marrder. "While it does add cost to the bottom line to bring manufacturing here, it allows us better control of our quality and it shortens our lead times a lot."
CompanyWeek profile (Sept. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/sno-go
Bringing a customer-centric perspective to contract composites manufacturing, Origen offers contract machining and stock carbon-fiber tubing along with its focus on custom composites jobs. Founder Scott Neilson sees plenty of runway because most industries haven't explored composites as part of their supply chain. "A lot of what we see growth in are companies that are in industries where there's been little or no innovation," he says. "Coming in with composite materials can really turn an industry upside-down."
CompanyWeek profile (Sept. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/origen-manufacturing
After innovating on panoramic camera systems for Google Street View 20 years ago, Elphel is now focused on thermal imaging. As was the case with its work with Google, the company is leveraging open-source software and hardware for a breakthrough in heat vision. Defense is the initial target market, followed by aerospace and autonomous vehicles.
"With our system with multiple sensors, we increase contrast by about 20 times right now," says co-founder Olga Filippova. "Thas is a breakthrough in this technology, because thermal sensors cannot really, by the laws of physics, be much more effective than they are right now."
CompanyWeek profile (Nov. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/elphel
Eric Peterson is editor of CompanyWeek. Email him at email@example.com.