Firth Rixson Georgia Vice President Chris Bohlmann gave the Hinesville Rotary Club a clearer picture of what the aerospace seamless-ring manufacturer does.
Firth Rixson officially opened its 200,000-square-foot facility in January. The plant is located in Tradeport East Business Park in Midway.
Bohlmann said the global company mostly is based in the United Kingdom and the United States with additional locations in China and Hungary. The company comes under Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in the United States, he said.
Firth Rixson’s Liberty County plant is a closed-die forging facility and is considered one of the company’s most important expansions with more than $100 million invested in it, Bohlmann explained. The site specializes in nickel- and titanium-based discs for commercial and military engines and industrial gas turbines, according to the company’s website. The company also has a contract with Rolls-Royce to produce parts for the company at the Liberty County facility.
Firth Rixson Georgia’s Vice President told Rotarians the company is looking to employ a total of 200-250 employees.
“We have 85 workers today; 35 of those are engineers,” Bohlmann said.
Liberty County Development Authority Director Ron Tolley asked Bohlmann if he was satisfied with Georgia’s QuickStart workforce development program used to train workers for the plant.
He said he was and added that Firth Rixson still is looking for honest, hardworking and dependable employees. Although the company prefers workers who have manufacturing experience, those individuals who can meet “a high level of expectation,” would be considered, Bohlmann said.
The company is divided into three main divisions: rings, forgings and specialty metals, he explained.
Ring sizes range from 4-200 inches in diameter, according to the Firth Rixson website. Materials the company uses to produce rings include alloy steel, titanium and nickel-based super-alloys, the vice president said. The local plant has equipment weighing millions of tons, including two industrial presses brought to Midway from Montenegro. Bohlmann said it took three months to disassemble the presses in Eastern Europe, transport them to the United States and reassemble them here.
Bohlmann emphasized that the products Firth Rixson manufactures must be high quality and free of defects because they go into aircraft that transport people and property. He said product safety is paramount, adding that if a ring “blows out,” a plane could go down.