Delphi gets $10 million expansion
The need for billions of tiny rubber rings will mean a biginvestment for Brookhaven’s Delphi Packard Electric Systems,company officials said.
A new Liquid Silicon Rubber (LSR) project is expected to beginoperation in about six months at the plant on Industrial Park Road,said Ken Harlan, plant manager. Equipment, tooling and facilitymodifications for the project represent an approximately $10million investment in the plant.
Thirty molding presses will produce a portion of the 3.2 billionseals that are put on automobile wiring for protection against theenvironment. Currently, Harlan said, the company’s onlyseal-producing plant is in Germany and additional seals are boughtfrom other suppliers.
“This is a project that was put together to bring some of thatwork to the U.S.” Harlan said.
Harlan credited the Brookhaven Delphi plant’s proven, flexiblework force and tooling support from nearby Fountain Electric and Land S Tools as factors in the decision to bring the LSR operationto Brookhaven.
“They helped get the business here due to their performance,”Harlan said.
Bids on the molding presses are currently being sought, andHarlan expected them to be installed within the next six months.That time will also be used to educate employees on use of the newequipment.
“We’re going to send some of our people to Germany to learn theprocess,” Harlan said.
Harlan said the new operation would not mean additionalemployees for the plant. He said increased productivity in otherareas would provide the needed manpower for the new presses.
Each press is capable of producing 90 seals at a time, Harlansaid. Harlan did not have a total on the volume of seals theBrookhaven plant would produce, but he said it would meet the needsof General Motors’ North American plants.
Due to the seals’ small size, Harlan said the tools andmachinery will be difficult to maintain. However, he was confidentthe local work force will be up to the challenge.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Harlan said. “If any plant cando it, it’s Brookhaven.”
Company officials are looking to start the operation as soon aspossible because of the savings involved. The company is expectedto realize savings in transportation costs and not having topurchase seals from other suppliers.
“That’s where all the savings are coming in,” Harlan said.
Chandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice-president, said the Industrial DevelopmentFoundation’s Existing Business and Industry Committee was proud toassist Delphi in bringing the operation to Brookhaven.
Russ said the committee was able to point out various local andstate tax incentives, including a 10-year tax exemption on the newequipment and abatement of a portion of the sales tax on the newequipment. He also mentioned the possibility of a $500 per employeetax credit should the new operation result in an overall additionof 20 new jobs within a certain time period.
The LSR operation is the third expansion at the Delphi plant inthe last two years. A $78 million expansion in 2001 was followed bya $10 million expansion to its plastic injected moldingoperations.
Russ cited the Brookhaven’s plant proven track record as reasonsbehind the expansions.
“It’s a superior facility,” Russ said. “It speaks volumes forBrookhaven and Lincoln County and the labor force that Delphi haschosen to invest close to $100 million in that facility.”