Sen. Shaheen Tours Belmont Manufacturer

August 25, 2017

BELMONT — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), during a visit to Milpower Source, cited a new provision in this year’s defense authorization bill that calls for the government to assess procurement costs in light of the long-term utility of the parts being purchased.

The purpose, she said, is to make sure the money is well spent, balancing the cost with the need for reliability.

That is the central focus of the Belmont manufacturer, according to Milpower Source General Manager Tomer Eshed, who led Shaheen on a tour of the plant yesterday.

“Reliability is really a key,” Eshed said. “You have to be able to have a part that works for years.”

He cited the example of an aircraft carrier that may be at sea for a year. There is limited space for spare parts, so when the Navy purchases a part, it wants it to last 30 years, rather than having to replace it every six months, he said.

Milpower Source does most of its work for military applications, with its two largest clients being Raytheon and Northrup Grumman. The company subjects its products to rigorous testing to make sure the equipment will not fail.

Eshed said the rugged military housing on its uninterruptible power sources has to withstand extreme stress. The device is subjected to shock tests to simulate hitting a mine: A 2,000-pound hammer is released at a 45-degree angle to strike the underside of the UPS with the equivalent of a 120G hit.

“No one else has ever been able to do that,” he said of competitors in the military supply business.

The result is a much more expensive piece of equipment, but one that will not let anyone down.

The same holds true for commercial aviation products. “A backup emergency generator for a 737 has to work, even if it’s not been used for 20 years,” Eshed said. “When the time comes that it’s needed, it had better work.”

The company’s goal is to make its products as perfect as it can get them, and that starts in the design phase, Eshed said.

Shaheen, in addition to being a member of the Armed Services Committee, is the lead Democrat on the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. On Tuesday, she had led a committee hearing on New Hampshire’s workforce challenges and innovative approaches to attracting and retaining skilled workers.

At Milpower Source, she asked whether a company located in Belmont, New Hampshire, can find the workers it needs.

Company officials said finding people skilled in electrical work is a challenge, with much of the technical training in the area having been geared toward metal work. Workforce development is more than just finding employees, they said; they also need to work with the schools and colleges in curriculum development to make sure the right skills are being taught.

Shaheen questioned some of the employees about their work as she toured the manufacturing area, stopping to look at some of the high-power devices and testing equipment.

Following the plant tour, the senator sat down privately with company officials to discuss issues of concern to them.

By:  Tom Caldwell
Source: Laconia Daily Sun