By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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What does it mean?
No smoke stacks, no industrial pollution and jobs for local workers, Allied Titanium CEO Christopher Greimes said Friday.
“It’s like the ultimate green industry,” Greimes said. “There isn’t any waste; there isn’t any pollution.”
While it has announced plans to set up a factory in Sequim, Allied Titanium hasn’t yet filed for any permits from the city.
So it is unknown when the factory would be a reality.
“The business has not yet made application for any building permits that may be needed, but the city doesn’t expect any issues for this building or site,” Community Development Director Chris Hugo said.
Part of that is due to the fact the 7-year-old Delaware-based company isn’t entirely certain what its Sequim factory will be producing.
Allied currently has eight employees in Sequim working in sales, quality control and distribution at a manufactured home and warehouse on 5.5 acres of land on East Washington Street it purchased in December.
Greimes last week said the company could definitely manufacture 75 percent of its line of 93,000 titanium products, now produced in China, in Sequim — if it gets the investment it seeks.
Greimes estimated the company will need to raise $10 million to $100 million to build the factory on its Sequim property.
He said it plans to build the factory regardless of the amount of investment funds the company can raise.
The amount of investment will determine how large the factory will be and how many product lines it can produce.
Titanium is a strong, low-weight metal that is resistant to corrosion and is used regularly in the military and the aerospace and marine industries.
Allied Titanium’s website lists a variety of products made out of titanium, from nuts, bolts and washers to pipe fittings, kitchen utensils and even jewelry.
More could be added to that list if Greimes can attract enough investments, he said.
He assured the factory would not pollute, saying titanium is prevalent all over the Earth and noting it is regularly used as a component in replacement hips, knees, even to replace broken jaws.
“It is completely non-toxic to the human body, even in large amounts,” Greimes said.
He added that the city’s wastewater reclamation system, which would allow the company to use treated sewer water in an industrial application, was one of the factors in choosing Sequim.
“One of the big benefits of locating in Sequim is that the city is on the forefront of sustainability, i.e., the reuse water system,” he said.
Still, Hugo said the city directed Allied to work with the state Department of Ecology to gauge what ecological concerns such a factory might present.
“Since manufacturing titanium parts is not common, Allied spent considerable time with Ecology to address how some waste elements are disposed,” Hugo said.
Hugo said the factory would comply with city zoning laws since the Washington Street property is in the city’s mixed-use zone, which allows such activities as manufacturing as outright permitted uses.
“We are also committed to help them through whatever approvals they may need, as we do with every applicant that needs our assistance,” Hugo said.
Allied Titanium has eight factories that are actively operating in China.
Greimes would not say how many employees are currently on the private company’s payroll, however.
“We don’t release any financial information or personnel information because this is a highly competitive industry,” Greimes said.
The company leased a 20-acre farm in 2012 to begin developing its Sequim operation before moving to Washington Street.
Greimes said it picked Sequim after researching a number of locations because of its transportation access, proximity to Seattle, low electrical rates and potential to build a workforce.
“The children that come out of Sequim’s schools are really well-educated,” he said.
Allied will need employees to run the robotic titanium-cutting machines, for distribution and in sales.
“That was another thing that attracted us to Sequim,” he said.
“The working families in the Port Angeles and Sequim area are used to hard work from logging and fishing.”
He also wants to draw experienced operators of the factory’s machines from the Seattle area, hoping to find those who “want to leave the rat-race life and come out where it’s nice and beautiful and spacious and you can eat healthy, organic food.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.