Some Kennametal work might move to Clemson, S.C.

Some production at the Kennametal plant in Evans could be moving to Clemson, S.C. in coming months.

The shift in production comes as Dailan, China-based Top Eastern Drill Co. enters into an agreement with Pittsburgh-based Kennametal Inc. to purchase the plant at 470 Evans Road. The pending deal for $29 million also involves facilities in Clemson, S.C., Mexico City and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Dale Erkkila, the vice president of corporate development for Top-Eastern Drill Co., said the purchase of the Evans plant, along with a defined group of Kennametal’s high speed steel assets, is scheduled to close next week.

“We will continue to operate it and evaluate the market conditions,” Mr. Erkkila said about the local plant. “Some of the production will move up to the Clemson, S.C. facility, but that’s going to be a gradual transition. We’ll continually reassess the process from that point on. The purpose is to create efficiencies.”

He said that Top-Eastern Drill Co. is not closing the Evans facility, and the move of some production to Clemson, S.C. would take “numerous months.”

“We feel that some of the things done in Evans could be more efficiently done in Clemson, S.C.,” he said.

He said that some workers could be transferred to Clemson with the equipment, but he would not comment on whether there would be job losses.

Top-Eastern Drill Co. is a global manufacturer of high speed steel drills and taps.

Mr. Erkkila said that he met with a selective group of employees on Thursday at Kennametal that will be continuing their employment with Top-Eastern Drill Co. Approximately 160 Kennametal employees from Evans and Clemson, S.C. will be joining Top-Eastern Drill Co., but Mr. Erkkila could not provide an exact number of how many people this involves from the Evans plant. All other workers will remain with Kennametal, he said.

Kennametal laid off 26 employees Thursday in an effort to “right size” the facility before its sale to Top-Eastern Drill Co.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227

or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

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