Halfway through its first full year at its new Everett plant, aerospace engineering firm MTorres is flying high.
Year-over-year revenues jumped 40 percent from 2016-2017, buoyed by almost $40 million in new projects. The Spanish company has attracted U.S. customers not only in the Puget Sound region, but also from as far away as Texas.
Plans to build a second 32,000 square-foot assembly/integration/research and development area in the 65,000 square-foot MTorres Innovation Center are on track, and the company’s latest innovation, its carbon-fiber TorresWing, has generated buzz as a potential disruptor for manufacturing planes and other forms of transport.
MTorres makes advanced, automated manufacturing equipment, and is a leader in robotic and automated assembly machines. Though it has had an office in Los Angeles since 2000, its 2013 purchase of Bothell’s Pacifica Engineering, and subsequent move to Everett, marked the start of a concerted attempt to enter the U.S. market.
It has secured three contracts to help manufacture Boeing’s new 777X airplanes, and is angling for contracts on the potential launch of an all-new 797.
The company has hired 110 local employees for the innovation center. It also has relocated management from Spain, including chairman Eduardo Torres. In an email interview, Torres discussed his company’s present position and plans for the future.
How has the first year been so far? Has the move to Everett met management expectations?
“Our new home has exceeded our expectations as we have seen even better than anticipated benefits of being close to our customers.
“This is true for those customers with a presence locally such as Boeing, Blue Origin or Teague, as well as those customers from other locations the U.S., such as Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter, in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth, respectively.
“The welcome from the local community including the City of Everett, Snohomish County, the Economic Alliance Snohomish County, and the local colleges and universities has been simply overwhelming. The collective team in the area is a true demonstration of what partnerships can deliver in terms of offering support to companies like MTorres America in positioning its business for success.”
How does the Innovation Center factor into your global plans?
“MTorres America sees a great deal of potential in the North American market… MTorres’ investment in the U.S. is strategic to align its support to the U.S. aerospace and defense marketplace. The U.S. market is a cornerstone to the targeted growth forecasted over the next 10 years for MTorres.”
When did you move here, personally? What do you think of America so far? What have been the biggest personal cultural shocks?
“I moved here with my family in summer 2015. I am part of a generation that grew up under the influence of American movies in the 80’s and admired the American way of life. American culture is well known and widespread around the globe, and I have traveled many times through the years to the United States, so the transition from a culture perspective was no major surprise.
“What is truly special about the Pacific Northwest is how hospitable the people in this area are to people coming from abroad. We have found that the people we have met are always offering to help and support, and unfortunately nowadays you simply do not see that everywhere you travel.
“I find the Puget Sound area drop-dead gorgeous. Weather here is actually not much different than Pamplona’s except for a few more of sunny days in Pamplona.
“In Pamplona, my commute was about 10 minutes. Long distances and traffic has been quite an interesting experience since moving to the U.S. And the Seattle area food in my opinion is a unique fusion of local and international influences. I especially love the fresh seafood!”
I understand there is Lego Education Center planned as part of the Innovation Center. Can you tell me more about that?
“We do not have a certain date, but our idea at some point in time is to bring our Lego experience in Spain here. MTorres teams have won First Lego League, an international competition for elementary and middle school students, where…the competition involves designing and programming Lego Mindstorms robots to complete tasks assigned. We have identified the spot where the Lego building would be located at the Innovation Center. Our teams will be made with children whose parents work for the company and the children of the local community.”
What impact could your recent innovations — the TorresWing and carbon-fiber fuselages — have on airline manufacturing?
“The genesis of the…TorresWing is to offer the opportunity for not only aircraft designers to implement a potentially disruptive manner for advanced manufacturing of aircraft fuselages. Beyond aircraft, the new material, and new methods of assembly, offer a new way of thinking for other transportation markets such as space vehicles, rail transports, and even marine vessels.
“By bringing new ideas, that have been proven in the (research and development) areas of MTorres, we bring a unique value to our customers and potential customers by challenging ourselves and conventional thinking by proving what is in the ‘art of the possible.’
“Manufacturing evolution is by its nature continuously exploring ways to reduce the time it takes to produce its products safely, with higher quality and greater rate of return on investment. TorresWing offers the opportunity to achieve these targets as an enabling technology, and we rely on our partners’ expertise to deliver what their end markets are demanding.”
What else does the future hold?
“As a recognized industry leader in advanced composite machines, integrated tools with automation, MTorres is extremely positive in terms of the opportunities that it sees in the U.S. aerospace and defense industry.
“As the industry continues to evolve and incorporate automation into manufacturing, MTorres is uniquely positioned to lead the path to the future as an innovator and collaboration partner.
“MTorres America’s choice to move to Everett is reinforced time and time again, and we are pleased to call to Washington state home.”