CHAMPION, Ohio - Executives at Ohio Star Forge and its parent company, Japan-based Daido Steel, cut the ribbon on a $20 million expansion at the Champion plant Saturday morning.
President and CEO of Ohio Star Forge Billy Orbach said, "In 25 years we've grown from two machines and 27 employees to five machines and 104 employees. We've also taken the manufacturing square footage of 80,000 and now we have 206,000 on the roof."
The expansion houses the latest machine from the Hatebur Hot Forming Company, the AMP 70 XL. Compared to most machines in the Unites States that are vertical hot formers, this one produces on a horizontal form and at faster pace, running parts at one per second.
The machine makes parts for vehicles.
Satoshi Tsujimoto, Director of Daido Steel, explained the reasoning behind the AMP 70 XL is "so we can provide good parts and cheap ones for the American automobile industry. This is why they installed this machine here today."
Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel said the county and Champion Trustees agreed to approve a tax abatement for Ohio Star Forge's expansion.
"That makes their investment a lot easier here and allows them to, in this case, add about 30 jobs. That's on top of the 90-some that they already have, so that's a big growth number for jobs," he said.
Ohio Star Forge not only makes transmission parts and ball bearings for the automotive industry, but also parts for the oil and gas industry and other areas of manufacturing.
Management here hopes the new equipment will be a stepping stone for more expansions in the future.