Saturday, 31 March 2012 14:35

Yates, Feralloy to add 24 jobs via expansions

Yates, Feralloy to add 24 jobs via expansions

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Two Decatur companies with close ties to Nucor Corp. — Yates Industries and Feralloy Corp. — announced expansions Friday that will add 24 jobs.

It was the third consecutive week that area companies came to the Decatur Industrial Development Board with expansion plans.

Michigan-based Yates Industries plans to build a $2.9 million facility on Refreshment Place, near McIntyre Lane, to replace its leased space on Alabama 20. Yates rebuilds pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders for Nucor and other companies. It also builds custom cylinders.

The Yates expansion will add 11 workers to the 14 it already employs, according to plant manager Forrest Risberg. The average wage of the new workers will be $50,000 annually, not including benefits.

“We would currently have more employees than we do if we had room to utilize them,” Risberg said. “The new facility is going to immediately open up new positions.”

The planned 37,500-square-foot building — complete with overhead cranes — will more than double floor space.

Construction will begin in April, with completion expected in April 2012.

Yates opened its Decatur facility in 2006 with four employees, mainly to serve Nucor. Before then, it had shipped Nucor cylinders to Michigan for repairs.

The Decatur Industrial Development Board agreed Friday to abate noneducational property taxes for the project of $9,400 per year for 10 years. IDB also voted to abate $53,000 in sales and use taxes that Yates would otherwise pay during construction.

Yates estimates the construction project will generate $11,000 per year in school property taxes for the state and for the Morgan County, Decatur and Hartselle school districts.

While Nucor attracted Yates to Decatur, it has expanded its customer base since then.

“A customer like Nucor is a good tool to use to build a business,” Risberg said. “It gets you started and then you build around it.”

IDB Chairman Jack Fite abstained from the vote because his company, Fite Building Co., is involved in the expansion.

One of Yates’ customers is Feralloy, which also announced an expansion Friday.

Feralloy is adding equipment that will permit it to increase the flatness of steel blanks it cuts from coiled steel, some of which it buys from Nucor.

The $7.75 million expansion will permit it to add 13 workers to the 35 it currently employs. The new jobs will pay an average of $50,000 annually, not including benefits.

General manager Jeff Diener said Feralloy’s parent company, Reliance Steel, might have added the equipment to an Illinois plant if IDB had not approved tax breaks.

“When the corporation looks at corporate investment, it has a lot of location and geography options,” Diener said. Reliance is the largest steel service center in the nation.

The board approved an abatement of noneducational property taxes of $22,000 per year for 10 years. It approved an abatement of sales and use taxes during construction of $240,000.

Feralloy estimated the expansion will generate school tax revenue for the state and for Decatur and Morgan County school districts of $27,000 per year.

One of the pieces of equipment Feralloy is purchasing, a stretcher-leveler, is a state-of-the-art device that makes its steel blanks perform better when customers shape them with a laser.

While lasers are a more precise and efficient way to cut steel than conventional methods, they generate heat. The heat tends to cause steel that initially was in a coil to return to its coiled shape.

The stretcher removes the steel’s “memory” of being coiled.

“There are grippers at each end that clamp down on the steel and literally stretch it to the point where it loses its ‘memory,’ ” Diener said. “It pulls the steel so hard that it relieves all the memories and internal stresses from the steel. This machine is so strong it can literally pull the (half-inch thick) steel into two pieces.”

Diener said Decatur is in a good location to allow for Feralloy expansion.

“The automotive industry is really starting to surround us now,” Diener said, with major assembly plants in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi. “Construction is also coming back, and we’re a big part of that.”

Feralloy opened in Decatur in 1998, about the same time as Nucor predecessor Trico Steel.

The other piece of equipment Feralloy plans to purchase is a multi-blanker. The machine cuts coiled steel into blanks as small as 6 inches by 6 inches or as large as 72 inches by 240 inches.

The thin steel sheets produced by the multi-blanker go into end products like the housing of air-conditioning units and refrigerator doors.

“This piece of equipment has computer technology that’s unmatched,” Diener said. “It’s kind of a showcase, not only for us but for the supplier that makes the machine. It will give us a good foothold into industries we are not currently in, which allows us further growth.”

Expansion plans continue locally

Expansion projects at Feralloy Corp. and Yates Industries in Decatur have been announced this week. Major industrial projects announced or started since January 2011 near Decatur represent investment of more than $1 billion and almost 700 jobs. Some of the major projects:

Announced this month

Project

New jobs

Investment

Reason/Location

Feralloy Corp.

13

$7.75 million

Expansion/Decatur

Yates Industries

11

$2.9 million

New plant/Decatur

Nucor Steel

8

$43 million

Expansion/Decatur

Toray CFA

43

$97 million

Expansion/Decatur

Announced previously

Project

New jobs

Investment

Reason/Location

Sonoco

28

$6.5 million

Expansion/Hartselle

Excel Door

35

$2.9 million

Reopening/Hartselle

Ascend

3

$28.8 million

Expansion/Decatur

Independence Tube

0

$30.5 million

Rebuilding/Decatur

Hexcel

25

$100 million

Expansion/Decatur

Bunge

50

$85 million

Expansion/Decatur

Daikin

25

$60 million

Expansion/Decatur

Polyplex

150

$187 million

New plant/Decatur

Carpenter

*203

$500 million

New plant/Tanner

3M Co.

2

$11.6 million

Expanson/Decatur

3M Co.

0

$39.7 million

Expansion/Decatur

Magic Steel

6-8

$4.5 million

Expansion/Decatur

Micor Industries

40

$3.1 million

Expansion/Decatur

*In addition to the 203 jobs Carpenter intends to create, there will be about 40 indirect jobs for maintenance and other contract employees,

DECATUR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BOARD; ALABAMA DEVELOPMENT OFFICE; MORGAN AND LIMESTONE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATIONS

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