By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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City officials announced Wednesday that Allied Titanium Inc. will make titanium products on 5.5 acres at 1400 E. Washington St.
Allied Titanium CEO Christopher Greimes said he did not know how big the factory would be nor when it might open.
He said his company at some point plans to manufacture in Sequim many of the 93,000 titanium products it now makes in China.
“We know that we can manufacture parts cost-effectively in Sequim,” Greimes said.
“The land and the taxes and the power are less than they are in China”
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.
Greimes said the company hopes to have a round-the-clock factory making those parts in Sequim.
“On paper right now, it looks like about 75 percent of those we can manufacture there in Sequim,” Greimes said, speaking in Hawaii, on Wednesday.
Eventually, the company hopes to employ up to 150 people.
It currently employs eight.
Greimes said Allied is advertising jobs for sales staff and will soon begin hiring welders, water-jet cutter programmers and shipping and receiving personnel.
“We need good salespeople right now,” he said.
He said the number of products that can be made in Sequim depends on how much investors he can attract to build a facility he estimates could cost $10 million to $100 million.
“Right now, it's a broad range,” Greimes said.
“We're narrowing down right now what products we can produce more cheaply there than in China.”
Allied's Sequim factory will, he said, manufacture marine products with high-speed robotic water-jet machines and wire-feed tig welders, as well as welded products such as tanks and grade 5 titanium fasteners that can be produced at a high speed on automatic screw machines.
The factory would be staffed by workers who, for eight hours a day, would program robotic machines to fabricate products automatically during the remaining 16 hours.
Community Development Director Chris Hugo did not immediately return calls about the status of Allied Titanium's permits.
City officials hailed Allied's announcement as a sign of economic development in a news release issued Wednesday.
“On behalf of the Sequim City Council, we welcome Allied Titanium to Sequim,” Mayor Candace Pratt said.
“Their decision to move their western headquarters to the city of Sequim reflects on our council goal of establishing economic development values and guiding principles that support economic growth in the city,” she added.
City Manager Steve Burkett said the city had been working with Allied Titanium to site a factory in Sequim for more than a year.
“We are very pleased to welcome a new corporate citizen and the new jobs and economic activity that will come with them,” he said.
The company leased a 20-acre farm in 2012 to begin developing its Sequim operation.
In December, it bought the East Washington Street land, where its sales team is working in a manufactured home and five-bay shop.
Soon, the company will set up a shipping and receiving facility at the site to build the new factory there, Greimes said, although he did not specify a date.
Greimes said his experience working with titanium in Russia and China led him to want to bring the company's operations to the United States.
“America needs to move into the titanium age,” he said.
A lack of titanium production facilities has held down use of the metal in the United States, he said, noting that titanium is the fourth most abundant material in the Earth's crust.
Greimes said the company spent three years studying a number of locations for its West Coast headquarters and chose Sequim because of its infrastructure, accessibility and school system.
“The education level of the kids coming out of high school is really high in the Sequim area compared to other areas we looked at,” he said.
Greimes also said the proximity to Peninsula College would be helpful in training employees to operate the highly specialized robotic tools his company uses.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.