Firth Rixson on Wednesday formally announced the grand opening of its new facility in Midway during a two-day customer appreciation event at the site in Tradeport East Business Park. The company also officially announced the signing of a contract with Rolls-Royce, owned by BMW, to produce parts for the foreign cars at the new facility.
“This agreement is a crucial step in our continuing growth in aerospace market, and builds on our already successful relationship with Rolls-Royce,” Firth Rixson CEO David C. Mortimer said in a news release.
The UK-based company makes highly engineered, forged and specialty metal products. The new facility in Tradeport East is Firth Rixson’s fourth closed-die forging facility worldwide and the most significant expansion in the history of the company, according to the company’s website.
“Firth Rixson has completed a decisive move in the Aerospace industry. Within one year of announcing its construction, Firth Rixson Forgings LLC is fully operational,” Mortimer said. “The technical organization assembled for this facility is industry-leading. Our facilities, equipment and installations are of world-class caliber. Today, Firth Rixson advances its prominent position in the Aerospace industry by delivering a broadened service to our valued customers.”
During the event, customers from as far as Italy and China gathered under a party tent inside the new factory and dined on hors d’ oeuvres, hot tea and coffee. Before going on a tour of the facility, on which recording devices were not allowed, speakers took the stage and thanked the audience for their dedication to the newly completed project.
“Wow, in a word, to sum up how I feel, that’s the best way that I can really say it. To say that in the last 12 months that there have been a few changes around here would be a wild understatement,” Chris Bohlmann, Firth Rixson vice president and general manager, told the crowd. “One year ago, seated where you are today in this factory, you would have seen a rough patch of dirt, some concrete and a bunch of trucks driving around. Fast forward to today, you can see a complete factory that has already forged the first of many discs for our distinguished customer base and global customer base, which is present here today.”
Bohlmann spoke of the progress of the 200,000-square-foot building and the partnerships that were built along the way with more than a dozen local and national companies. Seventy employees are already working for the factory, 21 of whom have engineering degrees, Bohlmann said.
“Today, you’re going to hear the story behind the building, the building you’re sitting in now,” he said. “Both today and in the future, you’re going to see a focused work team here representing the technology and equipment installed in this factory.”
According to the vice president, 5.2 million pounds of equipment were brought overseas from Eastern Europe to the factory in Midway during the past 18 months.
The Liberty County Development Authority owns Tradeport East Business Center, where the new facility is located.
“We are delighted Firth Rixson Forgings, LLC has completed construction of their facility, and we welcome them to our already-robust existing industry base. Firth Rixson’s creation of over 200 new manufacturing jobs will provide a great boost to our economy,” LCDA Chairman Allen Brown said. “We would like to thank all of our partners who worked with us to bring Firth Rixson to Liberty County, especially the Georgia Department of Economic Development who brought them to Liberty County for a site visit and the OneGeorgia Authority and the Economic Development Administration for providing grants to help fund the project.”
The UK-based company owns 12 operating facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.