777X supplier MTorres plans plant by Boeing Everett factory

EVERETT — Aerospace supplier MTorres has big plans for its new facility under construction near Boeing’s Everett plant.

The building — dubbed the MTorres Innovation Center — will support current production and help the company and customers develop better ways to automate airplane production. Ultimately, the company, which is based in Pamplona, Spain, hopes it will be a launch pad for getting into the Pacific and Asian markets.

The task at hand is delivering automated machines and tooling that Boeing will use in making the composite-material wings for its 777X, which goes into production in 2017.

“We are already installing part of those in the Boeing facility,” said Luis Izco, a managing director with MTorres.

The company — a leader in robotic and automated assembly machines — has three contracts on the 777X program. Two are for equipment and tooling used in assembling the wings’ spars and stringers. The other is for automated fiber placement machines used to make the wing stringers from carbon-fiber composite material.

Everything should be delivered by 2019, he said.

The 777X work is just the start for the company here, said Eduardo Torres, son of company founder Manuel Torres and head of its U.S. subsidiary, MTorres America.

In 2011, long before landing the 777X work, the company decided to buy a U.S.-based firm to get better access to the market here. It settled on Bothell-based Pacifica Engineering, which it bought the following year.

MTorres came to Washington to be close to Boeing — and Pacific and Asian markets expected to boom in coming decades, Torres said. “We believe the Pacific area will experience the highest economic growth over the next 50 years.”

That means plenty of opportunities for MTorres, whose products and services cover a broad swath of the aerospace, paper and wind energy industries.

The company is betting big on building its reputation for top-shelf engineering here. Since buying Pacifica Engineering, it has more than doubled its U.S. workforce to about 125. It should be about 140 when the $15 million Innovation Center opens in May 2017, Torres said.

Some of the workers are from Spain; many were locally hired. Torres moved his family here last year.

The Innovation Center will also house the MTorres Lego Education Center, a program for kids interested in the STEM subjects exploring science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

MTorres has plenty more land to expand, too. Torres said he wants to land new work with aerospace suppliers. The industry’s supply chain is expected to see substantial growth as Boeing, Airbus and other airplane makers execute plans to ramp up production in the coming years.

MTorres does work for Airbus and Comac, a Chinese airplane maker. It is possible there could be an MTorres China one day, but it is only speculation now, Torres said.

Gov. Jay Inslee lauded the company during a groundbreaking ceremony in early October, and promised that “Washington will continue to be a great partner.”

MTorres benefited from the state’s tax breaks for aerospace companies and a one-time business-tax incentive offered by the city of Everett worth $1,000 for every new full-time job added here. The incentive is granted in batches of 50 jobs.

Those benefits have been nice, but they did not swing MTorres’ decision when picking a site, Torres said.

“We were going to come here regardless of the support,” he said.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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