A Tucson company's industrial park in Guaymas, Sonora, has landed two new aerospace manufacturers.

Construction is set to begin this week on a $9.6 million turbine manufacturing plant for Britain-based JJ Churchill LTD, said Eduardo Saavedra, executive vice president of business development for The Offshore Group.

The industrial park is owned and operated by Offshore, which is based in Tucson.

Cincinnati-based Ellison Surface Technologies Inc. will open a $1.5 million thermal-spray-coating and special-process facility at the park, said Eric Dolby, the company's marketing manager.

Aerospace manufacturing has been growing steadily in recent years in the port town of Guaymas.

In June, the region got a major boost when Rolls-Royce moved in to develop a supply hub for commercial jets and military aircraft.

Churchill signed a 10-year manufacturing service agreement with Offshore at the British ambassador's residence in Mexico City last month. 

"The investment in Guaymas ... represents a significant step in the company's plan to solidify its status as a 'preferred supplier' ... by locating production facilities in the areas of the world in which demand is growing," Churchill officials said in a written statement.

In announcing its move to Guaymas, Rolls-Royce said its goal was to double production over the next 10 years.

The London-based company has customers in 80 countries, including 500 airlines; 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators; 160 armed forces; 4,000 marine customers and 70 navies.

The ambitious growth plan was part of the lure for the new operations.

"The Mexican expansion is a principal component of our long-term strategic initiatives, and we look forward to being an integral part of the growing aerospace and industrial gas turbine manufacturing cluster in Sonora," Ellison's president and CEO, C. Michael Ellison, said in a statement.

Dolby said by email that the two companies' announcements coincided in timing, but the projects were "not dependent upon or driven by the other."

"The common link between the two organizations is the determination that having a presence in the state of Sonora is strategic and central to future growth," he said.

The Guaymas plant is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2013. Churchill's timeline was not available.


Founded in 1986, The Offshore Group, based in Tucson, is the largest private-sector employer in Sonora.

Contact Gabriela Rico at grico@azstarnet.com or 573-4232.