The $8 million investment will bring the production of Meiden’s 72.5kV and 145kV high voltage vacuum circuit breakers to the new 60,000-square-foot Fountain Inn site and expand its North American sales operations, according to a news release. The production center plans to open its doors at 2200 Old Laurens Road this month.
“We are very excited to establish our first manufacturing base in (the) U.S.,” Nobuaki Tamaki, senior managing executive officer at Meidensha, said in the release. “We believe our new base in Laurens County, S.C., 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 (the) Americas.”
The North American center will sell vacuum bottles and other switchgears, while also manufacturing and assembling emissions-free high voltage circuit breakers and switchgears, the release said. Customer service specialists will offer guidance on engineering, design and field service. Meidensha expects the demand for circuit breaker alternatives without sulfur-hexafluoride gas will drive aggressive growth as aging substation equipment is phased out across the country and greenhouse gas restrictions tighten.
The company has been manufacturing vacuum circuit interrupters since the mid-1960s and introduced 72.5kV breaker sales to the North American market in 2007 with an existing sales location in Michigan.
“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,” Jonathan Coleman, CEO and president of the Laurens County Development Corporation, said in the release. “We appreciate their commitment to our county, and we commit to provide them with a long and prosperous relationship.”