BY JON BELL
DON'T LOOK for any grand strategy shifts or flashy new markets behind FLIR Systems' recent acquisition of the Colorado imaging firm Salvador Imaging.
Despite the fact that Salvador counts veterinary X-rays and semiconductor device inspection among its specialties, FLIR's vice president of corporate strategy, Tony Trunzo, says those are niche markets that will remain as such.
Instead, Trunzo says FLIR dropped $13 million in cash for the 30-person company as a way to vertically integrate Salvador's sophisticated low-light cameras and technology.
"Our acquisitions take two to three different forms," Trunzo says. "Some add distribution, some add to our product line, but the most common is vertical integration. I'd say this is a pretty good example of that strategy, and it's reflective of what we've been doing with our (acquisitions) over the past few years."
Salvador specializes in low-light video cameras that run at speeds in excess of 100 million frames per second. The cameras are able to create visible images in color or monochrome with very low levels of light.
That will come in handy for FLIR's Commercial Vision Systems division, especially in the low-light security sector.
"With infrared, you can't ID things," says Trunzo. "With low-light imaging, you're able to, for example, read a license plate in the dark. This gives us an in-house source of those types of cameras."
Wilsonville-based FLIR, which had revenues of $1.1 billion in 2008, will work on fusing its infrared capabilities with Salvador's imaging technology in an effort to expand security and surveillance offerings to commercial customers. Trunzo says FLIR also hopes to do with low-light imaging what it's done with infrared: lower the price.
"We ultimately see this as having substantial commercial applications," Trunzo says, "and we also believe we can take this technology and drive down the cost like we've done with infrared."