The Vitec Group consolidates product development and manufacturing in New Jersey

The Vitec Group, parent to a number of production and microwave transmission equipment brands in the broadcast industry, cut a ceremonial ribbon last week to open a new 65,000 sq-ft facility in Mount Olive, NJ, that consolidates a number of its disparately located company resources under a single roof. The event was attended by key customers, company executives and local politicians, who billed it as “an exciting development” for the New Jersey business community.

Integrated Microwave Technologies (IMT), a business unit within the Vitec Group’s Videocom Division that includes brands Nucomm, RF Central and MSC, will build all of its products from this one new building.

Stephen Bird, CEO of The Vitec Group, said the new “purpose-built” facility would help it grow the business by putting renewed emphasis on such “new” markets as government and aerospace — in addition to continuing its support of broadcast customers. The new plant will make it possible to deliver more products, faster than they could from previous locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. (The company will continue to maintain small presences in Carlyle, NJ; Pennsylvania; and Massachusetts.)

After going on a sustained buying spree in the past two years, Bird also said that he would continue to look for new acquisitions in 2011, if and when they make sense.

“With this new facility we now have the capacity to do more than we ever could before,” he said. “This means customers will benefit from faster delivery times, and we as a company can implement new features and functionality a lot more efficiently.”

Among the products to be implemented at the new facility is IMT's Modular Mobile RF Platform (MMRP) broadcast ENG news vehicle. The compact Ford Transit Connect truck chassis saves on gas and space, when compared with traditional microwave ENG vans. It features a series of RF Central, Nucomm and third-party equipment in 27 rack units to enable news shooting, editing and line-of-sight transmission. It includes an 1800W inverter (for power, instead of a gas generator), compact Wilburt "Night Scan" rooftop antenna and 15ft mast for reliable signal distribution from the field.

Keith Blaisdell, vice president of product development for IMT, said the new, smaller ENG “van” was a sign of the times, where news crews now use smaller cameras and related equipment. Likewise, IMT’s RF Central microLite HD camera-mounted wireless transmitters — consisting of an MPEG-4 based HD digital COFDM ultra-miniature transmitter — continue to get smaller as well.

The truck is built by Winemiller Coach and retrofitted with IMT gear in a number of configurations — depending upon individual user requirements. Since introducing the concept at NAB this year, IMT has sold five such units (approx. $65,000 without equipment) and last week was ready to deliver a new mobile weather forecasting vehicle (a retrofitted audio SUV, complete with a foldout HD LCD monitor when the back hatch is open) for station KYW-DT, the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia.

The new plant features a number of different departments for R&D, applications engineering, product design and testing (there's rigorous vibration and temperature testing equipment on site), all laid out in an intuitive workflow that moves IMT technology and systems from the design stage, through testing and on to final shipping. It also indicates that the IMT business is growing. Bird said the new building reflects the progress made at the company

“We've had a good year and look forward to further growth,” Bird said. “It was time to invest in the business and keep it at the forefront of product development for all of our product categories.”

One of those categories is wireless transmission system for 3-D (two 1.5Gb/s) signals. IMT president and managing director Stephen Shpock said 3-D is on their product roadmap, although there was not a significant amount of interest at the moment.