Ametek, the Berwyn-based instruments and machinery maker, said Wednesday that it is buying Pacific Design Technologies Inc for $125 million.

The 19-year-old California company with $40 million in annual sales makes liquid-cooling systems for NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, and the Air Force F-16 fighter jet, among others.

Ametek, which has annual sales of $5 billion, plans to put Pacific Design in its Electromechanical Group, where it “enhances our position in the attractive aerospace and defense sectors,” Ametek chairman David A. Zapico said in a statement.

The company’s “organic” sales from older businesses were flat over the last year, due partly to a drop in sales to China amid the retaliatory import taxes (tariffs) between the U.S. and China. But a stream of acquisitions fueled by cost cuts and higher profits has enabled Ametek to keep growing, Zapico told investors in his summer quarterly conference call with analysts on July 30.

Ametek employs about 18,000 people, including 600 in the Philadelphia area. Pacific Design employs about 70, headed by CEO Rich Fisher, who will remain with the company, according to Ametek spokesman Kevin Coleman.

Other recent Ametek acquisitions include:

  • Last fall, Ametek paid $525 million for Chicago-based Telular Corp. (industrial tank monitoring and security systems), which Zapico in June called a standout in boosting Ametek’s recurring revenues. It also paid $40 million to purchase Pasadena, Calif.- based Forza Silicon Corp. (medical, military and industrial sensors), both for Ametek’s Electronic Instruments Group.
  • In the summer of 2018, for an undisclosed price, Ametek purchased Motec GmbH (driver-assistance cameras).
  • In February 2018, Ametek purchased FMH Aerospace, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that makes high-pressure-gas systems for aerospace, military and industrial clients, for $235 million. And, the company bought Arizona Instruments for $38 million.

Also in the summer conference call, Zapico credited $85 million in cost savings over the last year, mostly from cheaper material sourcing, with helping the company fund a $60 million increase in research and development spending over the same period, to $260 million.

But beyond R&D, “the primary use of our strong free cash flow is to support our acquisition efforts,” chief financial officer William Burke said on that call.

As to future deals, “our pipeline is very good, and we’re evaluating a number of opportunities,” CEO Zapico confirmed at the time.