The former Leistritz Corp. operation in Rural Hall, NC, forges blades for industrial gas and steam turbines in stainless steel and chromium-, nickel-, and titanium alloys.

Ellwood Group to Close N.C. Plant

Jan. 7, 2014
Layoffs start this month Leistritz plant acquired in 2012

According to a WARN Act notice filed with the North Carolina Commerce Department, Ellwood Group Inc. plans to phase out its closed-die forging operation in that state, a plant it purchased about 16 months ago.  In August 2012, Ellwood announced it had acquired the assets of Leistritz Advanced Turbine Components, in Rural Hall, NC, and would operate it together with two Texas plants as the Ellwood Closed Die Group. “Each plant will retain its individual profit and loss responsibility but be organized externally to its markets as one closed-die solution,” it said then.

No acquisition cost was announced. The former Leistritz Corp. division in North Carolina had a reported 170 employees at the time of the purchase. 

Now, according to the WARN notice filed on December 20, the group plans to reduce employment at the plant this month as it phases out the operation, expected by April 2016.

The company has made no statement on its future plans for the operation.

The WARN Act is a federal labor law that requires organizations with 100 or more employees to provide 60-days advanced notification of plant closings and mass employee layoffs, including hourly and salaried workers, managers and supervisors.

Pennsylvania-based Ellwood Group includes several open- and closed-die forging operations producing engineered parts for capital equipment manufacturers. It also has specialty steelmaking and iron casting operations.

With three screw presses (8,000 ton, 12,000 ton, and 16,000 ton), a 50-ton counterblow forging hammer, and a range of finish machining capabilities, the North Carolina plant manufactures turbine blades and parts for pumps, machine tools, and extrusions.

At the time of the purchase, Ellwood Group was seeking state and local incentives to acquire nearby land and buildings, at that time occupied by the Leistritz business under lease from Siemens Energy.

Ellwood Advanced Components LLC (as the business was renamed) indicated the incentives would help to fund additional heating capacity, new trim presses, and new heat-treating equipment. “These additional investments are required to enable EAC to more effectively produce other types of closed-die forgings beyond turbine blades weighing up to 1,000 lb.,” according to a 2012 company release.

No agreement was reached with Siemens Energy, according to reports, but later in 2012 EAC announced new capital programs for the plant totaling $33 million over five years, including $15 million for new manufacturing equipment.

Published reports indicate that some local and state, performance-based tax incentives were granted to the Ellwood Group in 2012.