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Superior Essex announces expansion

February 1st, 2013

News Coverage:

Kendallville wire maker announces expansion

Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 12:37 pm | Updated: 12:41 pm, Fri Feb 1, 2013.

By Dennis Nartker

KENDALLVILLE — A local manufacturing facility announced plans Friday to expand its operation and potentially add 20 new employees.

The Kendallville Economic Development Advisory Committee voted Friday to recommend 10 years of tax abatement for Superior Essex on an estimated $2,377,000 of new equipment at its plant at 800 W. Mitchell St.

The company plans to add a new magnet wire oven for a new line of copper wire, according to plant manager Jesse James. The expansion will potentially lead to four more ovens, retaining the plant’s 61 full-time jobs and adding 20 additional full-time jobs paying $15.40 an hour. The new equipment will enhance manufacturing capabilities, add new products and expand wire size range for the site, according to the company’s abatement application.

The Kendallville operation manufactures copper and aluminum wire for Superior Essex’s magnet wire division. The local plant makes 48-gauge wire with the thickness of a human hair, the smallest size in the division.

Superior Essex is owned by LS Cable & System, a Korean-based industrial corporation and the largest manufacturer of cable in the world.

“The Kendallville plant is at capacity, but has space for additional equipment,” said James, one of the reasons the local facility was selected for expansion. The building has space for four more wire ovens, and James told committee members the potential is there for adding two or three by 2014 or 2015.

Two trends are affecting the wire manufacturing industry — the move toward hybrid automobiles and aluminum wire, according to James. The Kendallville plant has the capabilities to make aluminum wire, but adding copper wire production will enable other magnet wire facilities to increase aluminum wire production.

The Kendallville operation has 24 wire ovens producing about 1 million pounds of product. The 25th oven will have the capacity to produce 3 million pounds of product, he said.

Superior Essex will save about $129,000 in taxes over the 10-year abatement.

The abatement application goes before City Council Tuesday night.