Issue: Jun 2006


Kolbenschmidt Pierburg Expands Operations in Fountain Inn, S.C.



Two Divisions Celebrate Anniversaries

by James Hilton

Kolbenschmidt Pierburg, a leading global supplier of powertrain components and systems, is expanding its Pierburg and KS Bearings operations in Fountain Inn, S.C., the North American headquarters for both its Pierburg and KS Bearings businesses. As they celebrate milestone anniversaries of doing business in South Carolina, the expansion is driven by the significant growth both businesses are experiencing in the North American marketplace largely due to the increased attention of automotive manufacturers on fuel economy and emission controls.

The Pierburg business will take over the entire original structure the group has occupied for the past 10 years, providing it a total of 140,000 sq. ft. of space, primarily for administration and manufacturing. Pierburg is a leading manufacturer of emission controls, oil, coolant and secondary air pumps, along with throttle bodies, and currently employs 120 people.

Andy Knackstedt, president of Pierburg, Inc., said: "With the increased demand in the North American automotive industry for vehicles that are both energy and emission efficient, we are well positioned to provide our global experience and technology to help address these important issues. We also realized that we needed to increase our investment in and expansion of our facility. Happily, we looked no further than Fountain Inn to meet our objectives because of our outstanding relationship with the city and the state, and its location that is central to our access to customers. Equally important to us is the quality workforce we have found in Fountain Inn who have helped us achieve one of the lowest defect rates for parts in all of Pierburg and among the lowest in the industry."

The KS Bearings division, manufacturers of plain bearings, will be moving from the original Kolbenschmidt Pierburg facility of five years into a nearby 124,000 sq.-ft. building, over twice the amount of usable space the business currently has, to house administrative, manufacturing, research and development, and rapid prototyping functions, as well as a new reliability and failure analysis operation. The facility will be fully functioning in early 2007 and will initially employ 60 people.

"Our KS Bearings business has made significant inroads in North America over the past few years in terms of new business, productivity, quality and profitability," said David Mosier, president, KS Bearings, Inc. "The new facility will allow us to meet the growing demands of our customers both now and well into the future. And, I also echo Andy's comment that the employees from the Fountain Inn area have provided us with the much needed technical expertise and staffing to make us a world class manufacturing operation that our customers respect and recognize."

"On behalf of South Carolina, I want to congratulate KS Bearings and Pierburg on the celebration of their fifth and 10th year anniversaries," said Governor Mark Sanford. "We welcome their plans to expand their presence in Fountain Inn, and we remain committed to our efforts to better our state's underlying soil conditions in order to create more jobs and opportunity for South Carolinians."

History of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg in Fountain Inn, S.C.

The Pierburg plant was opened 10 years ago with 25 employees producing pumps for the Mercedes M Class vehicle being produced in Alabama. By 2000, Pierburg saw the need to expand its operations because of its continuing success and nearly doubled the size of the existing facility. At about the same time, the company went through a re-organization and established a new focus on powertrain technology. It was decided to move the KS Bearings headquarters into the newly expanded area and share some of the administrative services with Pierburg while it worked to grow its own business.

Today there are six Pierburg production lines in Fountain Inn producing emission control products, oil and air pumps, and coolant management products for improved emission and fuel economy performance. There are also five production lines making plain bearings for KS Bearings.

Both Pierburg and KS Bearings are recognized leaders in the marketplace for their respective technologies and offer technology applications designed to enhance the performance of gasoline, diesel and hybrid vehicles in North America.

A leading supplier of pistons, aluminum engine blocks, bearings, automotive air management and emission control, oil, vacuum and water pumps, electric throttle control, secondary air systems, and electric exhaust-gas recirculation valves, Kolbenschmidt Pierburg's four North American units have production facilities in Fountain Inn, S.C.; Greensburg, Ind.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Celaya, Mexico; and Marinette, Wis., in addition to its North American sales offices in Southfield, Mich.

Kolbenschmidt Pierburg AG is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall AG. The company has approximately 11,700 employees at its five automotive divisions. Global sales for its KS Aluminum Technology, Pierburg, KS Pistons, KS Plain Bearings and Motor Service divisions totaled nearly $2.6 billion in 2005. Additional information is available on the Internet at http://www.usa.kolbenschmidt-pierburg.com/ .


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