By Danielle Silva
Schilling Robotics is planning a manufacturing project in the Port of West Sacramento, which would entail a move from its current location on Cousteau Place in Davis. The Davis-based company was founded in 1985. The company sits just off of Second Street with 120,000 square feet of space that could nearly double with the move – plus additional room to grow.
The city of West Sacramento has reserved the Port of West Sacramento, also known as the “Seaway property,” for industrial development since 1995. This port is located near Lake Washington and Southport Parkway, and 300 acres south of the Deep Water Ship Channel and Turning Basin. Several projects were suggested for the area but no development has occurred and the property remains vacant. Recently, TC. No. Cal. Development, Inc. has offered to buy a portion of the 72-acres of the northeast quadrant for “Project Titan.”
“Project Titan” is a manufacturing project that claims will bring 300 “high-paying” engineering jobs. Rick Toft, the Port COO, claims that the title is the name of the preliminary plans for the project and has no relation to the Apple, Inc.’s car pilot project that goes by the same name.
The namesake, however, appears to tie closely with the name of a Schilling Robotics’ product: the TITAN 4 Manipulator. Schilling Robotics is particularly known for the TITAN 4, which the product datasheet noted as “the world’s premier servo-hydraulic manipulator system.
“Since 1987, these systems have been the industry standard for dexterous manipulator systems used in subsea applications, and are extensively used on ultra-heavy work class ROVs,” the product datasheet states.
In his comment to the Vanguard concerning whether Schilling Robotics is the manufacturing company opening a location in the Port of West Sacramento, Toft stated he could not disclose the manufacturing company, as they were still in escrow and needed to perform its due diligence. He did not deny, however, that Schilling Robotics would be relocating to the Port of West Sacramento.
Tyler Schilling, the founder of Schilling Robotics, had himself previously shared in 2014 with the Davis City Council, “We’re going to need a sizable parcel to build a new facility and I would dearly love to be able to do it here in Davis.”
In 2014, he warned that they needed at least 400,000 square feet of space to do the kind of expansion they envisioned, and worried that Davis did not offer anything near that kind of space.
It has taken nearly five years, however, it now appears that location will not be in Davis – although the city of Davis has not been formally informed of the move as of yet.
“We have received no information or news from Schilling about plans to either expand or relocate outside of Davis,” Davis City Manager Mike Webb said when asked about this developing story.
He added: “Schilling is an important business to the community and we stand at the ready to assist them in any space needs they have.”
Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney, who is the city’s Economic Development Director added, “We value our long standing partnership with Schilling. Consistent with our message in a recent business outreach visit with the company in June, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss space needs and how we can help fulfill those needs in Davis.”
Councilmember Dan Carson was just appointed along with Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida to serve as the subcommittee that will work with the applicants on Aggie Research Campus.
Mr. Carson told the Vanguard on Monday, “As of this morning at least it was my understanding that the city had not been advised that they had decided to leave. I hope we have a chance to work with them on solving their space needs as our city regularly does with other local businesses with growing pains.”
However, he added, “That said, this isn’t a surprise and demonstrates why the city must seriously consider proposals that come to us to provide the innovation space we need to secure our city’s economic future and fiscal stability.”
TC. No. Cal. Development, Inc., the company offering to purchase the approx. 21 acres from the Port, is a branch of Trammell Crow Company, a real estate company. TCC has business ties to TechnipFMC, the technology company that now owns Schilling Robotics.
In 2014, TCC and FMC Technologies (TechnipFMC’s name before merging with Technip) began the process for the FMC Technologies Campus at Generation Park. This campus became FMC Technologies’s new headquarters in 2016.
TechnipFMC specializes in “subsea, onshore, offshore, and surface technologies.” Schilling Robotics, founded by Tyler Schilling, also specializes in the manufacturing of Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles and other robotics. The manufacturing project’s current layout consists of the parcels of land located next to Lake Washington.
The manufacturing project itself will consist of two phases: Phase one utilizes 14 acres for a 237,600 square-foot advanced manufacturing building; Phase two uses 7 additional acres for a 108,000 square-foot expansion building. The total square footage is estimated to be 914,760 square feet. This is not including the 145,230 square foot off-site construction surrounding the selected parcels.
The establishment of a new Schilling Robotics facility in West Sacramento could encourage the industrial development the Port of West Sacramento has been looking into.
David M. Greenwald contributed to this report.