Dozens of new hires expected
By Mike Christen – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal
Jul 21, 2022
A locally based maker of products used by semiconductor manufacturers plans to expand its Austin footprint by more than 50,000 square feet to help meet the growing demands of its customers.
LTD Material LLC — which produces specialized items with names like ringboats and process tubes for semiconductor manufacturing and quartz fabrication — earlier this month filed plans to build a two-story, 52,512-square-foot building at 15600 Bratton Lane near Wells Branch. That is right next to its existing 29,290-square-foot facility.
The additional structure in the Vista Business Park would be divided into 44,568 square feet of manufacturing space and a 7,944-square-foot accessory office, providing room for an additional 30 to 40 new engineers, glassblowers and machinists to be added to its team of about 100.
LTD is led by CEO Kevin Nguyen alongside Fabrication Division President Arno Pitzen. It is a supplier for Texas Instruments, Micron, Intel and Samsung, among others.
"We need to ramp up our capacity," Pitzen told Austin Business Journal. "We are very excited about this. This industry is exploding. We are looking for a significant increase in our capacity and sales."
The new LTD facility represents a $10 million investment, excluding some machinery that will be installed and the additional staff.
Groundbreaking is planned in August. The new facility will mark a significant addition to the 4.7-acre property that is currently home to about half of LTD’s operations in Austin. The company also has a 38,400-foot warehouse on a 2.5-acre site at 8115 Altoga Drive, about 10 miles away.
The expansion comes as Central Texas' semiconductor sector sees a surge of activity. Samsung is building a $17 billion fabrication plant in Taylor and could possibly flood the region with even more factories. NXP Semiconductors NV is considering an expansion of its semiconductor manufacturing capacities in Austin. Plus, semiconductor sector suppliers such as Applied Materials Inc., Linde PLC and Valex Corp. have revealed potential local projects.
And the move by LTD Material is a reminder that the surge expands well beyond the corporate giants, trickling down to small companies investing in new facilities and jobs.
When the new building is fully operational, LTD will still not be able to fully accommodate the number of requests it is receiving from customers, executives said.
"It is a hot market," Nguyen said. "We are hiring now. It is difficult to recruit people but we are trying to grow as fast as we can. It is an ongoing process."
LTD purchased the property in 2018 from Heraeus Quartztech, the now-shuttered U.S. arm of a German technology group that specialized in precious metals, medical technology, quartz glass, sensors and specialty light sources.
LTD Material LLC plans to expand its operations at 15600 Bratton Lane with a two-story 52,512 square-foot facility.
LTD MATERIAL, LLC
The site is owned by Austin-based Ly and Nguyen Partners LLC. Georgetown-based firm FTC Architects is designing the new building.
"We just submitted the building permit to the city of Austin and we are collecting signatures for approval. The general contractors are being selected for the build," said Francisco Choi, owner and president of FTC Architects.
Choi said the new building will rise on the current building’s overflow parking lot.
He said the build will include the development of a water runoff retention pond to adhere to city regulations.
LTD filed its plans for expansion days before incentives applications were made public July 20 showing that Samsung is considering a historic $192.1 billion capital investment in Central Texas that could create at least 10,000 jobs. Samsung hasn't yet committed to moving forward with those plans, but even the possibility has semiconductor suppliers buzzing.
"We like to see that," Pitzen said. "We are supporting Samsung to a degree."
LTD also plans to expand its operations overseas.
In January 2020, the company announced plans to expand its single wafer, batch quartz and ceramic manufacturing operations into Vietnam with a new facility. Due to pandemic-related delays, Pitzen said the project is "running parallel" to the expansion in Austin.
Pitzen remains positive that the industry will continue to boom in the years ahead, especially in the domestic market.
"The business is very strong and we only hope that a recession is not going kill it," he said.
While the need for components to be used in personal computers may slow down in times of economic stress, Pitzen said the introduction of autonomous vehicles will continue to fuel the industry.
Federal legislation is also aimed at bolstering the domestic semiconductor industry with grants to encourage the construction of new manufacturing facilities.
"There is no end, from that point of view," Pitzen said.