Archive for the ‘GTAT Merrimack Expansion Plans’ Category

by Matt Margolis

 

Highpoint Engineering was brought in to begin planning the project approximately 2 weeks before the April 1, 2014 Merrimack Planning Board presentation.  It is likely, based on the dates above that GTAT was presented with a sapphire materials opportunity sometime in early March that will ultimately result in GT’s strategic decision to shift their R&D facility to a sapphire growth, product creation and shipping operations.

GT’s Merrimack construction plans include building construction and interior work that will displace the administrative services functions.  The expansion includes a 23,000 per floor additional that is 2 floors and measures 65 feet by 350 feet long.

GT’s exterior infrastructure improvements include installing up to 6 transformers and up to 1 to 2 cooling towers.  Currently the site has 1 inert “Argon” tank and the plan is to add 2 inert gas tanks, one consisting of Helium and one consisting of Nitrogen.  The additional inert gas tanks will measure approximately 8 to 10 feet in diameter by 15 to 18 feet in height.  The facility will include backup generators and UPS systems, since GT can ill afford a nanosecond of power disruption while growing sapphire boules.

The facility will accommodate 307 parking spaces up from 221 spaces currently at the location.  The number of parking spaces were noted as adequate because the operation will include “swing shift” employees (24/7) operations.  The internal shift from R&D to Manufacturing has already begun within the existing facility.  The lead engineer from Highpoint Engineering has indicated that there has been a significant uptick in truck traffic over the last few weeks (3/17 /14 to 4/1/14) to move equipment and prep the building for manufacturing.  The equipment operation is lessening and t he manufacturing process is increasing to grow boules, create a product and ship it out.  The facility is expected to have 2 loading docks for shipping and receiving.

Merrimack Site Plan Image (The expansion of plant is the yellow sliver)

Merrimack site plan 1

 

Merrimack site plan 2

Merrimack site plan 3

 

Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings

 

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by Matt Margolis

A memorandum dated March 27, 2014 from Merrimack’s Community Development Director, Timothy J Thompson addressed to Robert Best, Chairman of the Merrimack Planning Board provides details of GTAT’s imminent expansion and renovation plans at their Merrimack facility.  The memorandum seeks acceptance and consideration of Final Approval of an application for site plan review to construct a 46,000 square foot building expansion as well as renovate the existing 117,532 facility located at 243 and 247 Daniel Webster Highway.  The plans were reviewed by Merrimack’s planning board on April 1, 2014 and were unanimously approved 7-0-0, officially granting GTAT approval to construct a 46,000 square foot building expansion and 117,532 square foot renovation of the existing facility.  The project is targeting an “aggressive” completion target of Fall 2014 based on the correspondence between Merrimack’s Community Development Director and the Planning Board Chairman.  The current Merrimack facility measures 117,532 square feet, the approved expansion would bring the facility to 163,532, which represents a 39% increase in the size of the facility.  The memo also details GT’s plans to shift the facility from an R&D and test facility to a manufacturing facility.  The memo cites “recent contacts at  global manufacturing partners are driving the need to grow their current facility.”  Key takeaways from the memorandum are below:

  • Recent contacts at global manufacturing partners are driving the need to grow their current facility
  • The existing facility will be renovated to support the company’s manufacturing processes rather than the research and testing operation currently in use.
  • The company would be making a significant investment in replacing their outdated and obsolete equipment and installing additional equipment to support their manufacturing use.
  • The applicant is requesting the waiver to allow the plan to be recorded in the fall, following boundary survey and completion of an as built plan
  • Expansion will add 46,000 new square feet on top of 117,352 square feet of existing space

According to GTAT’s website the current Merrimack facility houses GT’s ASF furnace and LED business along with R&D and pilot production functions for a number of new technologies and other advanced materials.

Our ASF furnace and LED business is located in Merrimack. Our Merrimack facility is also the location of our  research and development and pilot production functions for a number of new technologies including Silicon Carbide and other advanced materials.

Details of the expansion and renovation memorandum of GT’s Merrimack facility are below:

Link to the memorandum dated March 27, 2014 and Merrimack Planning board’s approval of the expansion and renovation plans dated April 1, 2014.

Below are some key excerpts from the memorandum in text and image form.

GTAT has grown considerably from their start in Merrimack, and the recent contacts with global manufacturing partners are driving the need to grow their current facility to reflect the change to their operations from R&D focus to a more manufacturing focus.

GTAT is now seeking to expand the facility further by adding a 46,000 square foot addition.   The new addition will house primarily administrative office and administrative functions of the company, while the existing facility will be renovated  to support the company’s manufacturing processes rather than the research and testing operation currently in use.  In doing so, the company would be making a significant investment in replacing their outdated and obsolete equipment and installing additional equipment to support their manufacturing use.

GTAT is exploring several options on how to handle this shift, and among their current considerations is to expand on their facility here in Merrimack (other options are also being considered by the company).  The project has a very aggressive time schedule to meet the demands of the company, and the application before you has been prepared within the last several weeks, whereas a similar type of application would typically take months for the design engineer to prepare a submission for site plan approval

The applicant is requesting the waiver to allow the plan to be recorded in the fall, following boundary survey and completion of an as built plan

 

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Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings