Iron castings maker Thyssen Krupp Waupaca, Inc. recently announced that it will invest $162 million to expand its Etowah, Tennessee facility. The move will add 100 jobs and double the footprint of the plant, where approximately 600 employees produce gray and ductile iron castings for automobiles.
The expansion will add a new state-of-the-art production line and grow the company's presence in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley's robust auto supply sector. Currently, 20 percent of the Innovation Valley's manufacturing workforce is employed in auto supply.
This announcement marks the fourth recent expansion by an Innovation Valley auto supplier. In August, Aisin announced a $67 million expansion to its Clinton, Tennessee facility. That followed earlier expansions by Denso, Eagle Bend and the Australian brake parts maker PBR.
"In an economy that has seen casting technology moving off-shore, we are bringing a solid basis for renewing the technology capability in America," says Gary Gigante, president and CEO of Thyssen Krupp Waupaca.
Parts manufacturing is just one of the ways the automotive industry touches the Innovation Valley. The 16-county region has also evolved into a high tech center for practical, automotive research.
In May of this year, four high profile Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley institutions — including the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the University of Tennessee (UT), Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) and the National Transportation Research Center Inc. (NTRCI) — unveiled the Automotive Research Alliance, a major new initiative supporting the auto industry.
ORNL and UT are also heavily involved in Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen's push to make Tennessee a world leader in biofuel research and production.
Bredesen called Thyssen Krupp Waupaca's expansion "the very type of jobs we want to bring to Tennessee and McMinn County."
"The announcement came together with the help of Tennessee Valley Authority, McMinn County Development Authority and Industrial Board, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the City of Etowah, the Etowah Utilities Board and the Tennessee Department of Transportation," adds Jack Hammontree, executive vice president of the McMinn County Economic Development Authority.
For more information about Thyssen Krupp Waupaca, Inc. and its expansion, visit the company's Web site.