By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Operations have begun in the 7500-square-foot cleanroom manufacturing facility recently completed at Borg-Warner.
Start of production on the mini direct-acting solenoid being produced for General Motors happened last week, according to Plant Manager Kent Tobin.
About 10,000 of the high-tech solenoids will be produced per day during phase one of the new operation, Tobin said Tuesday. Phase two later this year will add another 10,000 units per day and a third phase is in the planning stages. “The program will account for roughly 40 percent of our sales within the next two years.”
The operation requires 36 employees per shift and a second shift will be added in March. “There will be over a hundred people employed out there if we get all three phases,” said Tobin.
The cleanroom operation represents an investment of approximately $18 million in facilities and equipment upgrades at the local plant.
“Figuring out how to be efficient and work in that type of environment will be of benefit. It could open doors for us in the future for further projects.”
The mini direct-acting solenoid is part of a GM vehicle’s transmission, according to Andrew Horner, Manufacturing Engineering Manager for the local plant.
“It shifts gears,” Horner said, describing the simple action of the high-tech solenoid.
Also last week, Borg-Warner issued bonus checks “in the seven figures” under the company’s employee incentive plan for their performance during 2010. “It should be a significant, positive impact on the community,” Tobin said.