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SKF consolidating North Charleston, Ohio plants to Sumter

Aerospace
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Throughout the next 12 to 18 months, SKF will consolidate its North Charleston plant and another in Avon, Ohio, into its existing Sumter location, a company news release said.

On Tuesday, the Sweden-based company, which produces and supplies precision bearings, announced it plans to invest $62 million “to strengthen its manufacturing footprint and competitiveness in North America.” Of that total, about $28 million will be invested in its Sumter operations to expand and automate manufacturing processes.

Closure of the North Charleston site will result in the loss of approximately 120 jobs.

“These investments illustrate SKF’s commitment to better serving customers in the region and will improve both our flexibility and competitiveness,” said John Schmidt, president of industrial sales for the Americas. “While this is an essential step for SKF, we do not take decisions that impact our employees lightly.”

SKF entered into a partnership with GE Aviation in 2007 to establish a Ladson location — a $28 million investment — that manufactures and refurbishes bearings for GE’s engines for large aircraft. That operation will remain in Ladson.

The North Charleston and Avon consolidation was coupled with another decision by SKF to spend about $34 million to move manufacturing of tapered roller bearings from China to Mexico.

“These investments represent the next steps in developing our regional manufacturing capabilities,” said Kent Viitanen, president of bearing operations. “Our investments in Sumter will expand their product capability, as well as see the first implementation of our automated manufacturing technologies within the slewing bearing cluster.”

Established in 2000, SKF Aero Bearing is a global producer and supplier of precision bearings for the engine market. The company has 17,000 distribution locations and representatives in 130 countries.

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