Hydroid, the underwater robot manufacturer, just keeps growing.
Last week, the company celebrated the completion of a 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing and applied research facility in Pocasset. The building, which consolidates the company's operations from five buildings into one, includes a 20-foot testing pool and a 6,000 meter rated hyperbaric test chamber.
The company is also planning to construct a 15,000-square-foot office building next door that may be ready by next fall.
The Cape Cod company currently has a little over 140 employees and plans to grow to 161 by the end of this year, according to Hydroid's president, Duane Fotheringham.
Fotheringham said the company's growth has been driven by demand for the company's three different robots, also known in the industry as autonomous underwater vehicles and all made in Massachusetts. Hydroid's three main customers are in the commercial, academic and military sectors, but the military is by far its biggest client, according to Fotheringham.
On the military side, Hydroid robots are used for "mine countermeasures," guiding people outside of mine fields, said Fotheringham. Three Hydroid robots were used to locate the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 in 2009.
Since the company began operations, the company has delivered some 300 robots into 17 countries around the world. This year, it's delivered about 35 to 40 vehicles. Although the vast majority of its employees are located in the Pocasset facility, the company has offices in the United Kingdom, Washington, D.C. and Bahrain. It also has a small maintenance facility in San Diego.
Hydroid was started in 2001 as a spin-off from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The firm was acquired by Kongsberg, the Norwegian conglomerate, in 2008 for $80 million.