Yampa Valley manufacturing group tests first products | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley manufacturing group tests first products

Craig Press staff report

Roadway maintenance crew tests new guardrail repair device.

CRAIG — Two new products manufactured in the Yampa Valley were tested recently.

West Portal Industries — a new local company championing light manufacturing in Moffat County — field tested a hoisting apparatus when a new section of guardrail was installed on Colorado Highway 13 south of Craig, near the old Empire Mine.

The device allows one highway crew member to perform a task currently requiring a team of four, making the job of manipulating sections of guardrails safer and more efficient for highway department maintenance crews.

"The test went well. We identified a couple of adjustments we can make, but they are minor," said Rich Foster, device inventor and Colorado Department of Transportation employee. "We have been doing our own testing and development on smaller sections of guardrails. This is the first time we've hooked on to a full section. It was great to see it in action on an actual highway."

Jim Stoddard, founder of West Portal Industries, said the second product under testing will be used in agricultural fencing.

“We have cut numerous prototypes and gathered input from nearly 20 individuals in the industry,” Stoddard said. “The response has been profoundly positive.”

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West Portal Industries is leveraging the skills of local fabricators and entrepreneurs and working to create partnerships, such as those with Moffat County School District and Colorado Northwest Community College, to develop patents geared toward growing the light manufacturing sector.

"At first glance, the economic horizon for Moffat County may seem a bit daunting," Stoddard said, before adding, "but the new robotics program starting at the high school this year, the new 3-D printing lab at CNCC, and new entrepreneurial opportunities provided by West Portal are laying solid groundwork for a positive economic impact in Craig and Moffat County."

Those interested in learning more about West Portal Industries or anyone with a great idea is invited to email Stoddard at jim@westportalindustries.com.