Dielectric, a pioneer in purpose-engineered antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters, will open a 33,000-square-foot manufacturing facility this fall in Lewiston, Maine, approximately 25 miles north of company headquarters. The Lewiston facility was secured to accommodate Dielectrics rapidly growing spectrum repack business, and will produce all UHF main and auxiliary television antennas moving forward.
The new facility will employ approximately 50 employees, including a mix of new hires from the Lewiston area and long-time Dielectric employees that will, in many cases, work across both facilities. Mike Spugnardi, Manufacturing Manager, will oversee daily operations and report to Dielectric Vice President and General Manager, Keith Pelletier.
This expansion represents the final phase of Dielectrics three-year long preparation for repack, said Pelletier. We have focused effort on streamlining engineering and process flows throughout the company, including a revamp of the current manufacturing space in Raymond, but we waited to pull the trigger on this final manufacturing expansion until the repack demand was clearly set to ramp up. The engineering improvements alone helped us quote 905 of the 987 television stations affected by the spectrum repack, and we stand ready to capture a lions share of that business based on our reputation for our engineering quality, product reliability, customer service and quick delivery. Our planning is based on an unchanged 39-month overall repack window, and this new facility will ensure we keep up with the pace that the industry demands, without any shortcuts or sacrifice to quality.
Dielectrics repack business will include a large number of auxiliary UHF WB antennas that will temporarily support new channel assignments before permanent antennas can be installed; over 100 auxiliary antennas are currently in manufacturing or shipping to sites. Pelletier expects that the total number of antennas produced at the two manufacturing facilities could easily exceed 1300.
We started producing repack antennas on July 1, and we are rapidly ramping up to a capacity capable of producing200 antenna systems every six months to keep pace with demand, said Pelletier. Our new building will have state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor facilities to design and produce UHF antennas, including a new outdoor test pad toverify performance of antenna products in advance of shipping.
Production work on UHF antennas is expected to commence early in Q4 2017, with the first shipments following later in the quarter. Company headquarters will remain at the Raymond facility along with the continued production of all VHF and FM radio antennas; and RF systems including filters and combiners, components and transmission line.
Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair. Dielectric is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. From remote stations to major markets, Dielectric has been delivering solutions for every need since 1942. Dielectric is an innovative, customer-centric organization with a long history of engineering excellence in designing and manufacturing high-quality broadcast solutions. The Company is a trusted partner of broadcasters worldwide. More information can be accessed at www.dielectric.com