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There is some stiff competition right now in the detector industry. We saw Tesoro go away recently, and I expect more consolidation to come. I also expect First Texas to be a survivor.

The electronics industry in large part depends on economy of scale. Yes, you do need to innovate or like Tesoro you eventually die for lack of new product. But manufacturing cost is a big part of the game, especially as regards global competition. And there is no denying now detecting is long past being a U.S. based industry.

First Texas has been taking some flak for slow introduction of genuinely new product, relying more of repackaging existing product for some time now. What many may not know however is that they have been investing heavily, and the big investment by far was in a new state of the art manufacturing facility. From http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-releases/25974-first-texas-products-corporation-to-invest-7-2-million-on-new-el-paso-facility

"December 2015 EL PASO, Texas - Both the El Paso City Council and County Commissioners Court approved economic development incentives that will spur more than $7.2 million in private investment by First Texas Products Corporation, a leading consumer electronics company with domestic and international reach. Approval for the incentive occurred by the City Council on December 8th and the Commissioners Court did the same on December 14.

First Texas, which is currently headquartered in El Paso, will construct a new facility in the Mission Valley (1120 Alza Dr.), resulting in the retention of over 50 jobs which have an average annual salary of $65,331. The new facility will strengthen and expand the company's commitment to manufacturing high quality metal detectors for industrial, security and recreational purposes as well as high performance night vision devices for military and civilian markets.

Per the incentive agreements with both the City and the County, First Texas Products Corporation is eligible to receive the following incentives package:

City of El Paso:
A ten year, 50% real and personal property tax rebate totaling $256,019
A rebate on the City's portion of the sales tax, up to $12,000
Possible waiver of building permit costs, estimated at $21,700

El Paso County:
A ten year, 50% real and personal property tax rebate totaling $159,570.65

As part of the incentive agreement, First Texas Products Corporation is expected to begin construction within the next 12 months, with the certificate of occupancy being obtained within the next 24 months."

This facility has been completed and is now in operation. And in a stroke of luck, I doubt FT anticipated when that article was written in 2015 that trade wars and tariffs would add an extra bonus to their decision to invest in El Paso.

first-texas-factory.jpg
A peek inside the new FT state of the art facility

So what does this mean? We already know First Texas makes metal detectors and night vision products. Now they have excess capability to sell. Check out the new FIRST TEXAS PRODUCTS ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING website at http://ftpcircuits.com/ Take some time to explore that website and think about the capability described there.

"First Texas Products Electronics Manufacturing understands the dynamic nature of the electronics marketplace. We offer a full range of PCB manufacturing and assembly services to fit all your printed circuit board capability needs.  One-stop printed circuit board manufacturer and quick turn PCB assembly solution. Serving OEM customers for many years in a variety of markets offering PCBA, wire harness, electromechanical assembly, build box and full system integration.  We also offer auxiliary services - environment testing, conformal coating, machining, packaging and labeling. One-stop printed circuit board manufacturer and quick turn PCB assembly solution.  Offering some of the most advanced PCB technology and convenient services found in the industry: Full Spec PCBs, Small Quantity - Quick Turn PCBs, Custom Spec - Quick Turn PCBs, Highly Specialized Precision PCBs, & Large Scale Production."

plus...

"International Fulfillment Services - We are process and results driven distribution warehouse having experience with hundreds of companies globally including online marketers. Let us seamlessly be an extension of your company; manage orders and inventory like it was our own. Release your order - we pick/pack and ship using our best shipping rates. Kitting, labeling included. We have been in the procurement business for 25 years. We have the contacts and the pricing history to kit your job at a reasonable cost. Don’t hesitate to inquire about how First Texas Products can help you focus on sales and the development of your business."

and finally...

"First Texas Products Corporation is a consumer electronics company that manufactures metal detectors for industrial, security, and recreational purposes. The company also manufactures and distributes high performance night vision devices for the military and civilian markets. First Texas Products Corporation began operations in 1999. Today it operates more than 11 separate companies, exports to more than 110 countries and provides 397 jobs of which 254 are in El Paso. First Texas Products Corporation offers its products through retailers and dealers throughout the U.S, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Australia."

And that my friends is why First Texas is not going anywhere. They can crank out detectors in large volumes at very low cost. How do you think I can see a pile of First Texas detectors, good detectors, at Costco by the pallet load selling for $99.99? Take engineering costs out and basic manufacturing cost is very low for these pod on a stick models.

The only area First Texas probably struggles with is the old legacy devices, like the old Fisher CZ models and the Gold Bug 2. Basically hand made compared to the newest models, lower volume, which means higher component costs, and therefore they can only sell for as long as the prices can be kept high enough. With the new competition coming online many of these older models are doomed, it is just a matter of when. And I have to wonder about something like the new Fisher Impulse AQ - does it really fit with the low cost high volume business that is FTs bread and butter? I guess only time will tell. One thing I am very sure of however, is that First Texas will continue to be a player in this industry, probably for longer than I will be around.

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Thanks for that Steve, an interesting read.  It may mean First Texas shifts away from metal detectors one day if they can no longer stand up to the competition and into just producing custom PCB's for other businesses using the equipment they're now sitting on.  I guess they'll always have a place in big box stores selling entry level gear even in the worst case scenario of them not being able to keep up with the competition.  It's a big wait and see situation there and it also depends on how much the competition is going to try get into their marketplace.

The one and only First Texas dealer in NZ is now only "sort of" still operating in his words, business has been very slow obviously. 

first-texas-factory.jpg

This photo is quite amusing, very big contrast to the photos we saw inside the Tesoro factory.  Also, a whole lot of equipment for one lonely guy, but that's the way of the world now, people aren't required so much in modern facilities. A few button presses by one person can do the work of fifty people.  If you look harder at the photo it's not because everyone else is on lunch break, he's got the only chair except one more off in the distance, and a nice smooth floor to roll around on the chair on 🙂

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I think even if they did not introduce new cutting edge product, which frankly would surprise me, FT can coast for a very long time. They long since got the engineering covered on the F75 for instance, and no reason it can't sell for $199 or less if need be. Lots of room for price decreases still between now and then. In the meantime they are minting money making these things are low cost and still selling for $500.

If they are smart all the work going into the Impulse housing will carry over into other product. The Impulse has a analog knobs face, but no reason that can't be replaced with an LCD face sporting touchpads to run a new waterproof digital based CZ multifrequency model. Most of the investment goes into engineering these new housings, and so if perfected they need to spread out the investment by using the housing for more than just a couple PI models.

I apologize for the quick and dirty Fisher CZX....

fisher-czx-vlf-multifrequency-metal-detector-mockup.jpg

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Maybe they're getting ready to make oodles of Bounty Hunters for Costco in that new facility?  

Hard to say because FTP is so tight lipped, but one thing we know for sure is that there isn't a new and innovative flagship detector coming out any time soon (at all?). 

The Manta isn't a FTP design, as most know they simply bought an existing design from a French team, so no idea really what they've been doing since the F75 was released, other then cranking out buttloads of cheap machines and going the way of White's repackaging the same old tired machines.  

I routed for FTP for years, but I've all but given up on them as they get passed by again and again by the likes of Minelab and Nokta/Makro.   I cannot imagine they haven't noticed the success of Nokta/Makro, including how awesome their customer service and ability to listen to the needs of their customers and how well this is received by the public (you know, the people that keep your company afloat).  I will also add that the last few times I had to use their customer service/repair department, I was extremely dismayed with their service. 

No idea what's going on there, but it would be great if they communicated with their customers once in a while. 

 

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One thing is for sure...

In this state-of-the-high technology, First Texas has the prerequisites to create new high-end metal detectors, even in large series, ....

The work of the new PI detector on the Aqua and Terra IMPulse is an illustrative example.

So I have no doubt that there will also be some new type * VLF Detector ..

˙¸ shifting your current high-end detectors to a lower price level suggests this.

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Thanks Steve!!,

And the rest of the posters! You guys really know your stuff! May it rub off on me! I've been reading posts like a fiend😈  If i were being paid by the hour here, i would have a sizeable paycheck this month!🤑

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I'd like to see them make a new version of the GB2. Same frequency, but with new electronics.

Jim

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Steve,

Very interesting piece on First Texas.  I wonder just how much of their business is and will be night vision?  Government contracts can be huge so it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this becomes their core business so to speak.  As you and others pointed out, they can make low cost detectors by the palate for warehouse stores and still make a buck.  For me it is a bit of a bummer that they have had to look outside for new tech.  You may recall for several years they were messing with BBS after the Minelab patent expired.  One of their prototypes even made it onto a treasure hunting series.  The machine never worked because from what I hear you had to set it up custom for every environment you were hunting in.  I don't think First Texas has anyone on board who understands multi-frequency technology; they are essentially a single frequency VLF company and don't appear to have a problem being such.  So outside of the Manta/Impulse AQ, whenever it gets here, I think we are left with only Minelab and Nokta/Makro when it comes to advancing technology.

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Looking on Amazon, Night Owl (First Texas brand of night vision) is the third brand listed and they have scopes,  binoculars,  and security cameras.  I suspect it's a pretty large business for them, possibly larger than detectors already.

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2 hours ago, Bill (S. CA) said:

Steve,

Very interesting piece on First Texas.  I wonder just how much of their business is and will be night vision?  Government contracts can be huge so it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this becomes their core business so to speak.  As you and others pointed out, they can make low cost detectors by the palate for warehouse stores and still make a buck.  For me it is a bit of a bummer that they have had to look outside for new tech.  You may recall for several years they were messing with BBS after the Minelab patent expired.  One of their prototypes even made it onto a treasure hunting series.  The machine never worked because from what I hear you had to set it up custom for every environment you were hunting in.  I don't think First Texas has anyone on board who understands multi-frequency technology; they are essentially a single frequency VLF company and don't appear to have a problem being such.  So outside of the Manta/Impulse AQ, whenever it gets here, I think we are left with only Minelab and Nokta/Makro when it comes to advancing technology.

And what about XP????

 

 

RR

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