Diesel engine manufacturer expanding Aiken plant

Guests and employees stand with a giant diesel engine manufactured by Tognum America Inc. during a grand opening ceremony in April for the company's new research and development center at its MTU Aiken campus.

Tognum corporate executives on Wednesday announced a $22.5 million expansion project for its MTU Aiken plant, just months after unveiling a new research and development center.


The diesel engine manufacturer will add two new test cells for off-highway diesel engines to its 19,300-square-foot research and development center finished in April. The facility in Sage Mill Industrial Park already has two combustion air-controlled test cells that can imitate various applications and load demands on new engines.

The addition is expected to double the center’s development capacity, according to company officials in a news release.

“The expansion of our MTU Aiken plant is part of our global growth strategy to invest in our plants and in R&D (research and development),” Tognum CEO Ulrich Dohle said. “In the medium term, the plant expansion enables us to prepare for the planned growth.”

The research and development center, which cost $40 million to build, can test engines used in mining, commercial marine, rail and industrial settings that top 6,000 horsepower. It helps provide for more clean and efficient diesel engines.

The expansion is expected to be complete by March 2015 and add 10 jobs to the facility. Construction of the engine test cells will likely begin in August.

“This new expansion project will enable us to enhance our engine development capabilities and will result in the completion of one of the most advanced diesel engine development facilities in North America,” said Joerg Klisch, the vice president of Tognum America Inc.’s North American operations.

Since 2010, Tognum has invested about $100 million in Aiken County to increase its footprint in North America. The propulsion and power solutions company is also undergoing an international plant expansion.

“Tognum’s expansion proves that South Carolinians know how to make quality and advanced products that are used around the globe,” said state Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “The MTU research and development center not only provides a boost to Aiken County’s manufacturing base but also solidifies South Carolina’s place in the nation’s manufacturing renaissance.”

In 2010, Tognum America moved from Detroit into a vacant 270,000-square-foot Aiken plant and has added more than 270 jobs. The research and development center’s first phase resulted in about 20 high-skilled engineering positions.

“They have quickly demonstrated that they are committed to manufacturing and R&D in Aiken County,” said Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young. “They have far exceeded their original commitment to us, and I am very happy to have them call Aiken County home.”


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