Electronics firm expands Salt Lake City facility
After taking executives, economic development officials and the media on a tour of Beijer Electronics' new American headquarters facility last week, U.S. operations CEO Barry Hobbs had a simple explanation about the value of the 44,000-square-foot building.
"This facility is our future," he said.
This is the North and South American headquarters for the Swedish-based company, which acquired the former Salt Lake City-based QSI in 2010. Its 85 employees manufacture existing products, develop new ones, ship products and operate the company out of the new building at 1865 W. 2100 South.
The company designs and manufactures complex electronic hardware and software.
These include human machine interface panels used by operators to control large machinery or proccesses inside factories.
Another product line includes rugged panel-mount or handheld human machine interface products designed to perform in extreme environments commonly found in the oil and gas, marine and offshore industries. Hobbs showed off testing devices for these where machines are subjected to extreme heat and cold to make sure they stand up.
The company also manufactures mobile data terminals used inside long-haul trucks, taxis, utility and delivery vehicles and public transit systems. According to literature, these allow for fleet management, dispatching, messaging, reporting, mapping and navigation. A simulator inside the factory tests these devices to make sure they can withstand up to 1 million miles of vibration and shaking on a truck.
"We plan to add about 12 percent of our current workforce to our ranks in the next year alone, and the building will serve our needs as we continue to grow," said Hobbs. "The new facility has everything a sophisticated research and development company would need including lab space, heavy power, water, high efficiency HVAC, lighting systems, access to fiber and ample warehouse and office space."
Fredrik Jonsson of Sweden, the CEO of the entire company that has 23 facilities worldwide, said the new facility will create a foundation for future growth.
"We have a good growth plan," he said. "This reflects who we are and what we want to do. The location in Salt Lake City has proved to be very good for us and our business."
Christopher Conabee of the Governor's Council of Economic Development, said his agency has been working with companies such as Beijer to grow from within. He said Utah's work ethic outperforms others in the world market.
Stuart Clason, director of economic development for Salt Lake City, said it was gratifying to see a locally grown company continue to do well.
"This is a proud day," said Hobbs. "This gives us more capacity to attract high level customers such as the Caterpillars and Haliburtons of the world. This is the next step in becoming a better company."