Paragon D&E, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company that is already a certified supplier to SpaceX, announced it has purchased the assets of Rio Grande Tool Co. in Brownsville and plans rapid expansion of its new operations here. Paragon designs, engineers and manufactures highly complex tooling systems for a customer base that includes the automotive and heavy truck industries, aerospace, agriculture and oil and gas. Paragon said it has broadened its involvement in commercial and defense aerospace in the last five years.

Andrew Samrick, the company’s managing director for advanced manufacturing, said the Michigan facility currently works on bolt systems that hold SpaceX rocket segments together. While he said it’s not yet clear what role Paragon will play in servicing SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Inc., in Brownsville, Samrick said the firm is “fairly confident” its expertise and services will be relevant during construction of the launch site — and beyond. “Right now, we don’t know,” he said. “We have to see how we can help them.”

Steve Clark