New Castle News

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June 28, 2014

Company cranks up cost of its Sharon project

NEW CASTLE — Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine Co. has landed up to $661,000 in state aid on its Sharon plant project, where the cost has been cranked up to $80 million.

The state awarded the company $225,000 in job creation tax credits for creating the 75 new jobs at the Sharon plant. Also, a $375,000 Pennsylvania First Program was awarded for the project and up to $61,000 for training under the state Guaranteed Free Training Program. The company still must apply for each of the awarded packages and agree to terms prior to receiving the funds.

Ellwood Crankshaft is expecting to have a groundbreaking ceremony in the fall as site preparations on the project begin. The plant will be located in what had been a warehouse on Sharpsville Avenue that was part of the former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant in Sharon. This new facility, set for completion in 2016, would be separate from the company’s Hermitage plant.

Cost of the project was initially pegged at $52 million. However, that figure has now been pumped up to $80 million, said Amy Weller, a company spokeswoman.

“This is the single-largest investment in the company’s more than 100-year history,” she said.

When completed, the plant will cover 200,000 square feet and produce very large crankshafts, mainly for ships.

Two forging furnaces will operate at the site. One reason for the cost of the project rising is the enormous amount of concrete that will be used to construct a floor to handle the furnaces.

“The concrete is going to be so thick it’s going to take six months for it to cure,” Weller said.

While the company looked at an alternative site in Ohio that was less expensive, the location didn’t have nearly the amount of space needed, she said.

Workers needed at the new plant will include machinists and metallurgists.

The company employs about 200 at its Hermitage plant, which produces crankshafts for such products as locomotives, power generation equipment, mechanical presses and items used in the oil and gas industry.

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