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

Friday, June 26, 2009 6:08 PM
Last updated 6:13 PM
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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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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 06/26/09 - 08:53 pm
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When the story about

When the story about Kennametal laying off 26 employees came out yesterday, somebody with some obvious "inside" info made quite a few biting comments about all this. From what he said, the total move to Clemson was pretty much a done deal. He also challenged the Augusta Chronicle to check other stories about large oil spills occurring and not being reported. Sounds like there's more going on here than just the move of machinery and the loss of jobs.

Philo-Publis
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Philo-Publis 06/26/09 - 10:17 pm
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The decision to move the

The decision to move the Augusta plant to Clemson was the not so secret agenda of a few managers that were transferred to Augusta from Clemson within the past year. The fact is, the Augusta product lines will likely be phased out because the Clemson facility is a smaller building that is only focused on high volume. The Augusta plant is more of a custom-solutions plant. All in all, this is a sad day for the few hundred of us that will be losing our jobs in Augusta. As for the Clemson plant, lets see how long the Chinese wait before moving their volume-production product to China. Kennametal is a high profit margin company and had no interest in the Augusta facility. They are responsible for driving the Augusta plant out of business.

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