Vitec Centralizes Microwave-Products Manufacture in New Jersey
UK-based broadcast-technology conglomerate Vitec Group has consolidated operations for its various wireless transmission products at a new, 65,000-sq.-ft. engineering and manufacturing facility in Mount Olive, NJ.
The new headquarters for Vitec’s Integrated Microwave Technologies (IMT) business, which includes the Nucomm, RF Central, and Microwave Service Company brands, replaces the company’s previous plants in Hackettstown, NJ; Carlisle, PA; and Haverhill, MA. It will produce digital microwave gear for IMT’s broadcast and sports clients while supporting the company’s continued expansion into the government and defense markets.
“We now have a building that reflects the ambition we have for the business,” says Vitec Group CEO Stephen Bird.
The plant was officially unveiled last Thursday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Bird and other top Vitec executives, key suppliers, customers, and local dignitaries, including New Jersey Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R-24th District). New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is thrilled that IMT has chosen Mount Olive as its new home, said McHose, because “the high-tech industry is crucial to the growth of the New Jersey economy.”
The IMT facility is staffed by 140 employees and handles a number of functions under one roof, including research and development, application engineering, manufacturing assembly, electronic testing, and customer technical support. It provides streamlined product development and manufacturing workflow; quick access to key television customers in New York City; and ample room for expansion, including 10,000 sq. ft. of readily available space. According to IMT President Steve Shpock, the move to Mount Olive will increase IMT’s staffing by up to 16% over the next year.
The broadcast business is strong today for IMT, says Shpock, and the company has benefited by offering wireless-camera links at four price points. He adds that IMT is targeting the sports-production market, including both network and stadium clients, as a “total solutions provider” with a dedicated sales team. IMT also has 3D wireless links on its product roadmap, given the recent increase in stereoscopic 3D productions.
“We have the technology to support that,” says Shpock.
Overall, Bird adds, business for Vitec is much better than a year ago, when broadcast customers struggled with lower ad revenues and cut their operating expenses and capital investments accordingly. He forecasts double-digit revenue growth for IMT next year and says that it and other Vitec divisions will gain from the continued conversion to HD.
Although much of the North American television industry has converted to HD and Western Europe is not far behind, Bird notes, a market like Brazil “hasn’t started yet,” which is why Vitec has built a plant there.
Bird is also optimistic about the long-term prospects for 3D, which Vitec’s Bexel broadcast-services business is exploring today by renting 3D camera rigs in collaboration with Panasonic.
“3D could be quite significant,” says Bird. “We’ve seen the transition from SD to HD, and we believe 3D could have a similar impact.”