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Gun maker to hire 450 in Rockingham County

Firearms maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. has finalized plans for a manufacturing facility in Mayodan, in Rockingham County, where the company expects to hire more than 450 people to design and assemble weapons.

If it meets the hiring goals, Sturm Ruger could receive as much as $9.46 million in state incentives from the Job Development and Investment Grant (JDIG) program.

The company, which plans to invest $26 million in the new plant, expects to fill jobs in production, tool making, engineering and product design by the end of 2017.

Sturm Ruger said in an announcement that the Mayodan plant will measure 220,000 square feet and will be the company's first major expansion in more than a quarter-century. Southport, Conn.-based Sturm, Ruger employs more than 2,000 people and operates plants in New Hampshire and Arizona.

Wendell clothing maker to lay off 118 workers

A Wendell clothing manufacturer is laying off 118 workers as it consolidates operations from three facilities to two locations in the state.

Mortex Corp., which currently employs 293 people, notified the N.C. Department of Commerce on Monday of the job cuts. It said some employees "may be offered" transfers.

The 29-year-old company said in its notice to state officials that it is shutting down its sewing facility in Princeton and consolidating sewing operations at its Middlesex facility.

Wendell will remain as the corporate office and the site for fabric receiving and centralized cutting.

Rural Center report calls for McCrory to create manufacturing council

The state's Rural Economic Development Center issued a report Monday calling for Gov. Pat McCrory to create a North Carolina Manufacturing Council that would develop policy for the state.

The council would examine the labor needs of the manufacturing sector, identify markets for the products produced here, and identify factors that are keeping North Carolina from being more competitive.

The council would also work with government and industry to come up with policies and practices to accelerate growth in manufacturing. The Rural Center report says the council should be established by May and deliver an agenda by May 2014.

The report is the product of a year-long effort by the Rural Center to determine how to better create job and income growth in the state's manufacturing sector.

In March, the Rural Center plans offer up other recommendations for expanding manufacturing opportunities, particularly among small firms located in rural portions of the state.

The state's manufacturing sector, which employs about 440,000 people, is getting a lot of attention this week. It is also the focus of N.C. State's two-day Emerging Issues Forum, which is being held at the Raleigh Convention Center today and tomorrow.

To read the full report go here.

Semprius to open manufacturing plant to make super-efficient solar panels

Durham solar panel innovator Semprius is two weeks away from opening a manufacturing facility in Henderson that is expected to employ more than 250 people at assembling the world's most efficient solar panels.

Semprius said today it will open its facility Sept. 26. Company officials, and many supporters in industry and government, see the Semprius plant as a milestone for the Durham startup and a potential leap forward for clean energy.

The 60-employee company says its high-efficiency panels will bring down costs to the point that solar energy will no longer require government subsidies. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology vouched for those claims by listing Semprius on the university's prestigious roster of the world's most important emerging technologies.

RTI awarded $4.8 million grant from US Dept. of Energy

RTI International, the large nonprofit research organization in Research Triangle Park, has been awarded a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop new manufacturing processes that will reduce companies energy costs.

The grant is one of 13 projects being financed with $54 million from the Energy Department and the private sector, which is providing $17 million.

All of the projects are focused on helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs by increasing the energy efficiency of their operations.

“This technology has the potential to reduce industrial energy and water consumption, lessen the environmental impacts associated with industrial operations, and stimulate the creation of other new technologies,” said Wayne Holden, president and CEO of RTI, in a statement.

RTI is one of the Triangle's biggest employers. Roughly 2,200 of the nonprofit’s 2,800 worldwide employees are in RTP.

The organization conducts research and collect data for U.S. government agencies and other potential clients. RTI recently opened its 10th foreign office in China.

Ingersoll Rand to expand Mocksville operations and create 60 jobs

Ingersoll Rand announced Monday that it will expand its operations in Davie County and create 60 jobs over the next three years.

The company will invest $22 million in its Mocksville facility. It will receive a $50,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund if it meets hiring and investment goals.

The average annual salary for the new jobs will be $35,230, above the Davie County average of $28,028.

Ingersoll Rand manufactures a range of products from air compressors and Club Car golf carts to Schlage locks and door hardware.

This latest investment will make the Mocksville facility the primary supplier of certain precision-machined components used by the company’s Industrial Technologies Sector, which makes air compressors, fluid pumps, material handling systems, tools and Club Car vehicles.

Ingersoll Rand employs more than 2,300 employees in Davie, Moore, Guilford and Mecklenburg counties.

Turkington plant acquired by Illinois manufacturer

An Illinois-based manufacturer has acquired Turkington USA, the industrial oven-maker located in Clayton that in February announced plans to shut down.

Middleby Corp., which makes foodservice equipment, purchased the assets of Turkington to bolster the food processing and baking capabilities of its equipment, a release stated.

Turkington announced in February it would close its Clayton plant and lay off 101 workers in the process. The company detailed the layoffs in a notice filed with the N.C. Department of Commerce, saying a temporary receiver had been appointed to wind down or sell the business.

Turkington USA is a subsidiary of United Kingdom based Turkington Industries. In 2009, Turkington relocated its manufacturing plant to Clayton from Goldsboro, where it had operated for 27 years.

Area clothing manufacturer closes abruptly, lays off 125

A local uniform manufacturer ceased operations on short notice and laid off 125 employees this month.

Royal Park Uniforms notified the N.C. Commerce Department that the financial institution backing the uniform company had cut off funding, forcing the local manufacturer to shut its doors.

The letter said the financing entity "would no longer fund payroll or any other expenses past November 10, 2011 at 5 p.m."

"This was a complete shock and surprise to RPU ownership and management," the company said in its letter to the N.C. Commerce Department. "There was no indication that the financial entity that RPU was dealing with would take such a strong stand."

Like old times? N.C adding cabinet making jobs.

North Carolina is adding the kinds of manufacturing jobs one almost never hears anymore: cabinets.

A kitchen cabinet manufacturer announced today it will add 136 jobs over five years in Rutherfordton, about 225 miles west of Raleigh.

The expansion will come as a result of Connecticut-based Gourmet Group acquiring Geppetto Kitchens and investing $2.3 million in the existing facility. Geppetto currently employs about 45 people at the site and had planned to close if not for the acquistion.

The planned jobs will pay $34,093 on average, not including benefits, exceeding the the Rutherford County average annual wage of $28,392.

If it meets the job creation goals, Gourmet will qualify for $270,000 in One N.C. Fund grants as well as local tax credits that could exceed $100,000. The local incentives will pay $1,000 for each job created in the first year, $660 in the second year and $330 in the third year.

Pergo cuts Triangle jobs as housing slump hurts sales

Laminate flooring maker Pergo, hurt by the housing slump and increased competition, recently cut 16 jobs at its Triangle operations.

The layoffs reduced Pergo's workforce in Raleigh and Garner to about 175 people. The company doesn't expect to eliminate any more jobs, said Marc Kmec, Pergo's human resources director.

"We don't take these types of cuts lightly," he said. "We don't cut with a hairtrigger when there are slowdowns. But we're in the same circumstance as any company tied to consumer spending and the housing market."

Kmec declined to comment on financial results or how much Pergo's sales have dropped during the economic downturn.

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