Growing Champaign tech company Starfire Industries moving to larger building

·3 min read

May 21—CHAMPAIGN — Starfire Industries, an 18-year-old Champaign technology company, is planning to move in the fall and expand with a new manufacturing facility.

Starfire bought the 194,000-square-foot former Patterson Dental building at 3310 N. Duncan Road, C, for $7.2 million and will establish its new 194,000-square-foot manufacturing facility there.

The company is currently in 14,000-square-foot facility at 2109 S. Oak St., C, in the University of Illinois Research Park.

"We decided to go big," said Brian Jurczyk, Starfire's president and CEO.

The move will come at a total cost of $9.4 million including the building purchase, new equipment and build-out costs, he said.

Starfire also plans to install solar panels through First Solar, one of its customers, Jurczyk said.

The move will accommodate an increase in manufacturing and research-and-development capabilities and create at least 22 new full-time jobs, he said.

Jurczyk describes the former Patterson building as a "unique space with a combination of office, engineering, manufacturing and distribution that will support Starfire's growth for years to come."

Starfire, which was started by Jurczyk and Robert Stubbers in 2004 at the research park's EnterpriseWorks technology business incubator, is described as a "deep technology" company focused on nuclear and plasma technologies serving the semiconductor, nuclear, aerospace, medical, environmental, energy, mining, automotive and security industries.

Stubbers, the company's vice president and chief technology officer, said the new facility will also provide space for a pilot in-line production system to process long and difficult-to-handle fuel cladding.

"We invented and patented a new way to apply thin coating onto nuclear fuel rods to make them safer and have superior properties that improve nuclear-plant efficiency," Jurczyk said. "The new building will give us the manufacturing space to construct an in-line system. Basically, we put a rod in one end and out comes the coated rod on the other side."

Among the company's products are nGen and Centurion ultra-compact particle accelerators used for medical therapy, environmental sensing, nuclear security and non-destructive imaging, according to Starfire's announcement about its upcoming move.

Starfire also produces products called Impulse and Radion, described as "pulsed power plasma sources and systems used for nuclear fuel fabrication superconductor coatings, semiconductor extreme ultraviolet lithography, lightweight electric vehicle assembly, high-temperature aerospace materials and thin-film deposition and etching applications."

Jurczyk said Starfire considered a move to a property in Texas, but opted to stay in Champaign with the help of a tax incentive from the Illinois Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program.

Plus, he said, "we love the community."

"Our community has a lot of incredibly smart and talented people," he said.

In addition to creating 22 new full-time jobs, Starfire's plans to expand include retaining the current 20 full-time jobs and supporting 12 engineering co-op and part-time professional jobs, according to the company.

Starfire has customers using its products on six continents and in space, according to Jurczyk. The company is projecting annual sales of $10 million for this year, up from $7.5 million last year and $5 million in 2020, he said.

"We have growth in all segments of our business," Jurczyk said.