Gill Industries, an automotive supplier in Trenton, Ga., has injected almost $1 million into a new automated production line to supply steel chassis for utility vehicles.
The investment will help the company keep its 115-person work force during the slow down in car sales, said Scott Cronan, regional business development manager for Gill.
“Ideally it would have been a net addition,” he said. “It’s better than net loss.”
Mr. Cronan said Trenton plant production is split between automotive and off-road vehicle components.
He said the company makes stamping and welded assemblies which go into vehicles produced by the major auto companies, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Volkswagen.
The company’s Mexico plant produces parts for VW’s facility in that country, Mr. Cronan said, and officials are hopeful of gaining business from the automaker’s planned Chattanooga location.
“Absolutely we’re trying to get business,” he said.
The new line is providing chassis for a series of utility vehicles by Club Car Inc. that targets the agricultural and outdoor recreation markets, according to Gill.
Jacques Saint Denis, the Trenton facility’s operations director, said producing the component for Club Car fits with Gill’s mission in making the site a “center of excellence” in precision tube bending and welding.
While the new work won’t produce more jobs short term, the business creates a foundation for bolstering the work force in the future.
According to Gill, it designed, installed and de-bugged the production line in about 10 months and is one of the fastest such efforts in company history.
The production line uses hydraulic presses, machining centers and robotic welding units to precisely bend and weld 2-inch by 3-inch rectangular steel tubing, company officials said.
After fabrication, the frames are electrostatically painted and powder coated before shipment to Club Car’s assembly plant in Augusta, Ga
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...