Despite uncertain economic times created by the side effects of COVID-19, the Laurens County Development Corporation announced and $8 million investment from a Japanese company for a new production center.
Meidensha Corporation’s new Meiden America Switchgear is initially investing $8 million and bringing 41 new jobs to the county as it expands its production of high-voltage vacuum circuit breakers.
The Laurens County Council recently approved a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement under the name, “Project Powerful.”
“We are excited to have Meiden America locate their new facility in Laurens County,” said Laurens County Council ChairmanDavid Pitts. “Their investment and job creation are a testament that Laurens County is open for business and we welcome their commitment to our community.”
The 60,000 square-foot production center, located at 2200 Old Laurens Road in the the former RAI Industrial Fabricators location, is set to begin operations this month. It is the first North American production base for Meiden America. The location is also expected to become a sales hub for Meiden’s vacuum interuptors.
“We are very excited to establish our first manufacturing base in U.S.,” said Meidensha Corporation Senior Managing Executive Officer Nobuaki Tamaki. “We believe our new base in Laurens County, South Carolina will enable us to maintain our high standard of quality, while delivering Meiden’s world class vacuum circuit breaker and vacuum interrupter across North America. We are proud to employ the dedicated workers of this state and want to express our gratitude to the county and state personnel who worked so diligently with us to select this location. We will manufacture environmentally friendly equipment mainly for electric utilities in Americas.”
According to company officials, while the primary focus will be on selling vacuum bottles and the manufacture, assembly and test of HV circuit breakers without SF6 gas, other switchgears will be offered. Corporate personnel specializing in engineering, quality, design, field service, spare parts and sales will service customers from this new location.
According to company officials, Meiden set aggressive overseas growth targets in its 2020 Medium-Term Management Plan. Meiden’s world class vacuum circuit breakers and vacuum interrupters address the growing demand for eco-friendly switching equipment in North America, as the incentive grows to replace aging substation equipment with environmentally friendly alternatives, without the use of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas.
Meiden’s 72.5kV vacuum circuit breakers, which do not use SF6, were released in North America in 2007, and sales of Meiden’s 145kV vacuum circuit breakers will commence in the U.S. in April 2020. At the core of Meiden’s vacuum circuit breakers are its vacuum interrupters, which Meiden has been manufacturing since the mid-1960s. Meiden’s vacuum interrupters are also sold separately to manufacturers in Japan and abroad.
“International investment continues to make Laurens County thrive. Meiden America Switchgear’s new facility in Laurens County is a further example of that for our county and the Upstate South Carolina region,” said Laurens County Development Corporation President and CEO Jonathan Coleman. “We appreciate their commitment to our County, and we commit to provide them with a long and prosperous relationship.”