Sharon Tube Co. unveiled a $45 million expansion to its Wheatland plant on Tuesday.
“It’s the most automated, most modern facility of its kind in the world, really,” said Sharon Tube president Bill Perrine.
The new plant manufactures precision tubes and doubles the size and the production capacity for the company.
Sharon Tube will specialize in DOM, or Drawn over Mandrel, tubing, which is used in trucking and agricultural equipment, among other uses.
“It’s used in everything from armaments to aerospace to automobiles to hydraulic cylinders. If you see a garbage truck with hydraulic cylinders made from this tubing,” Perrine said.
The expansion added 12 to 15 jobs to its workforce of 130.
“This last little expansion just adds more growth and means a great deal to Mercer County,” said Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader.
Beader said he thinks legislation aimed at curbing the effects of foreign currency manipulation have helped make the company’s growth possible.
“With fair trade, we certainly can do well and I think you’re seeing the fruits of that right now,” Beader said.
The expansion is not just great news for the county, but also good news for those who have lost jobs, like Meryl Whitmyer.
“I myself was laid off for a year and a half in the slowdown of ’08,” Whitmyer said.
But the new investment has allowed for about 15 new workers to a workforce of 130, with plenty of room to grow from there.
“And we’ve come back with a vengeance and our future is really looking good right now,” Whitmyer said.
“It’s all driven by customer need and there’s a need in the market place for the larger diameters that we didn’t produce previously,” Perrine said.