A California-based maker of magnetic components and related products for high-tech applications is opening a plant in Tucson that is expected to employ up to 200 people in five years.
Integrated Technologies Group (ITG), based in Culver City, Calif., has purchased a 25,000-square-foot building in Butterfield Business Park at 3590 E. Columbia St. from Applied Energetics Inc., which is moving to smaller quarters nearby.
ITG expects the new Tucson facility to begin operations by late 2012.
Looking to expand to meet growing demand, the company chose Tucson partly because of its location between the Los Angeles area and a plant ITG opened in Nogales, Sonora, in 2008, said ITG President Anil Nanji.
"We had to make a decision whether to grow in Nogales, or where," Nanji said.
While the Nogales operation has done well, some customers prefer domestic suppliers and long-term security in Mexico is an issue.
"Besides, we're an American company, so we would like to have a larger center of gravity in the U.S.," Nanji said. "(Tucson) felt like a really good place to be. I do feel it has a good business climate, even though it's a little hot."
The optics and engineering strengths of the University of Arizona, the presence of other high-tech firms, and the availability of a skilled local workforce also played in the decision, Nanji said.
Tucson Regional Opportunities Inc. (TREO) helped ITG identify area resources and possible incentives, Nanji said, adding that he also met with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
ITG is not currently in line for any government incentives for moving here but is looking into job-training funding offered by the state, Nanji said.
Officials of the Arizona Commerce Authority and Pima County also helped the company. The property is outside Tucson city limits on a county island adjoining Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
ITG operates several subsidiaries: Integrated Magnetics, which makes custom components incorporating magnetics; CMI Integrated Technologies, which designs and builds custom engineered motors, alternators and other electrical machines; and Magnet Sales and Manufacturing, a supplier of off-the-shelf and custom magnets since 1955.
"We hope over the long run to be able to incorporate optics and software into whatever we are doing," Nanji said.
ITG's assembly plant in Nogales, Integrated Magnetics de Mexico, now employs about 180 people mainly in assembly, said Nanji, the privately held company's majority owner.
The company's new Tucson location will focus on product integration and testing, including clean-room assembly. The plant will employ planners, mechanical, electrical and quality engineers, as well as test and production specialists. The operation will start with about 30 employees, Nanji said.
"Essentially all our business is based on lowish volume, high-value, custom-engineered products - these are all used in critical, difficult applications where things have to work very well," Nanji said.
Compensation levels have not been set, but Nanji said the company offers competitive salaries and benefits.
Magnets are used across a broad range of industries and products, including powerful rare-earth magnets that have allowed an increasing degree of miniaturization for electronics and other applications.
The company's products span the semiconductor, medical, energy, industrial automation and aerospace industries. The company now employs 450 employees in several plant locations, including its headquarters in Culver City; in Huizhou, China; and in Nogales.
Nanji declined to provide a list of clients, citing nondisclosure agreements with customers.
But as an example, major defense contractor Alliant Techsystems recently cited Integrated Magnetics among the subcontractors on its Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile program for the Navy.
In the semiconductor industry, Nanji said, ITG's products include magnetrons for the "sputtering" process used to deposit thin layers of chip materials; magnets uses in wafer-handling robots and extremely precise linear motors for the circuit-printing lithography.
Steve Eggen, TREO chairman and chief financial officer at Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems, said ITG's arrival will boost the local high-tech industries with a key new supplier and good jobs.
"We certainly are trying to get a good (high-tech) cluster here in Southern Arizona, particularly in the Tucson region, and one of the things we like to see is part of an integrated supply chain," Eggen said. "The closer we can have a supply chain, and attract others, it builds that cluster."
The fact that ITG's magnetic products span many industries is a plus because such diversity can help overcome the cyclical nature of certain industries, Eggen said.
"We're pretty excited about this - it's certainly great for the region here, it's going to bring some very good quality jobs, and that's good for everyone."
How to apply
Integrated Technologies Group has not yet announced the hiring process for jobs at its Tucson facility but plans to do so soon.
For updates, go to www.intemag.com/career_opportunities
Applied Energetics moveS
Applied Energetics, which sold its building to Integrated Technologies Group, will be moved by Monday into new quarters in the same business park at 4585 S. Palo Verde Road, Suite 405, company president Joe Hayden said.
Hayden said ITG approached his company about buying the 25,000-square-foot property, which Applied Energetics owned outright.
The purchase price was $1.46 million, he said. Rob Glaser of Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services brokered the deal.
Applied Energetics, a developer of directed-energy and laser systems, needed less room after it wound up a Navy research program, Hayden said. The new leased location is 5,000 square feet, and the company has 3,000 square feet of storage nearby, he said.
Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at email@example.com or 573-4181.