Local World Class Precision Manufacturing = Very Cool Neighbor to Have

Peerless Precision, Inc. (PPI) is not your grandfather’s job shop. When many people think about small batch manufacturing plants, images of oil-stained floors, deafening grinding sounds, and surly old men at the helm of archaic machines come to mind. However, Kristin Carlson, President of PPI, has worked hard to change the culture of manufacturing’s olden days, and the floor of PPI shows it. When I visited recently, I was welcomed with nothing but smiling faces from the staff of 20 state of the art employees, a calm quiet in the shop and a cleanliness that made me want to reevaluate my own kitchen standards. Carlson has passion for what she does at PPI and as a leader, that passion is directly reflected in the shop and her employees.

Kristin Carlson

PPI is a “one stop job shop” as Carlson likes to call it, but that may be all too modest considering the complexities of their capabilities. This small, 20-person job shop has unrivaled competencies when tolerances of .0001″ are needed and have delivered 1 helium light band in flatness, .000005″ in roundness and .003″ wall thickness with both raw stock (titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, carbides, etc.,) and castings. They are also AS9100:2009 and ISO9001:2008 certified.

What does this mean exactly? It means that many of the wildly specific parts required to fly our commercial, military and private jet engines are likely made in Westfield, at PPI. It means that the parts that make fuel pumps that run in machines around the world, likely have parts in them from PPI. It means that thermal imaging technologies for all kinds of medical and defense applications, rely on techniques that PPI specializes in. It means we have very cool neighbors.

When I asked Carlson what makes PPI stand out among other shops, she explained that not only can they work to extreme tolerances, and they can repeat those tolerances consistently.  PPI also adds a “personal touch” on their service. While PPI maintains a 98% on-time delivery and a 98% quality rating, if they are ever late, Carlson will drive the order to the customer personally to show PPI’s commitment.  Carlson has developed customer-focused marketing processes.

Carlson is eager to evolve with emerging technologies. Part of that evolution, Carlson notes, is actively seeking out startup companies that are looking to take a big idea from prototype to production. In 2007, a colleague from an existing customer presented an idea to Carlson’s late father, Larry Maier, about being the first company in the area to reverse engineer aftermarket Aircraft components, of which would be called Aircraft Component Design, Inc. (ACDI).

“This was an exciting opportunity with no guarantees for PPI, but my Dad saw the bigger picture and decided to get on board,” explains Carlson.

Maier’s efforts in helping ACDI to take off required it to be “built on the back of PPI,” and PPI was quick to commit to production. Carlson has continued the effort to grow the relationship with ACDI, who is now their premier supplier, and ACDI is pinned as one of PPI’s top four customers.

“Working with ACDI has been a rewarding journey. We are now working together to make components for companies like Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin,” says Carlson.

Carlson is excited about working with more companies like ACDI and is looking forward to partnering with the Greentown Labs Springfield Manufacturing Initiative. The new Greentown Springfield office will identify and manage opportunities for Eastern Massachusetts-area hardware startups to collaborate and utilize the rich network of manufacturing resources offered in Western Massachusetts. In an effort to bridge the gap between east and west, startups and manufacturing, Greentown provides resources such as facilitating factory tours, manufacturing workshops, networking events, and open office hours.

Carlson’s mission is a personal one. PPI has been in her family since her father purchased it in 1997 when Kristin started as a “shop girl,” tackling odds and ends around the shop.  After a move to CA, Kristin returned in 2012, when her father fell ill, to take the reins at PPI.

“I found out what my dad already knew, I was meant to do this,” says Carlson. “When I took over we had customers working on exit strategies, but I built my own relationships with them, gained their trust, and now they like me more than my dad,” Carlson shared with a laugh.

PPI is not your grandfather’s job shop, or even your father’s, because Carlson and her team have developed a manufacturing culture that is all their own. They have not reinvented the manufacturing wheel, they simply have found a way to do the same job better, faster, cleaner, and with a more personal touch.

PPI is located at 22 Mainline Drive in Westfield, MA. For more information about PPI and Kristin, please visit For more information about the Greentown Labs Springfield Manufacturing Initiative, please visit the Manufacturing Initiative’s website or contact Adam Rodrigues, Greentown Manufacturing Fellow, at 413-262-7107 or