Firm to expand N. Chas. plant SKF will add up to 25 new jobs

SKF Group, a Swedish manufacturer, will invest $3 million in a production line to make high-precision bearings at its North Charleston factory rather than import them from abroad.

A Swedish manufacturer will invest $3 million in a production line to make high-precision bearings at its North Charleston factory rather than import them from abroad.

SKF Group said the expansion will create up to 25 new jobs over the next three years.

“It’s the SKF philosophy to try to have production close to its customers, and we have the sufficient volumes today to make these investments, with the prospects for good growth in the future,” said Jack Bellomo, general manager of the local plant. “We expect to increase the number of shifts in the new channel within the next few years.”

SKF’s plant is on Investment Drive in Pepperdam Industrial Park.

The expansion is part of the factory’s recently established global business unit known as “Super Precision and Specialty Bearings.” The new North Charleston line will make “angular contact” bearings for domestic customers. Right now, those are brought over from SKF factories in Italy.

“There is growing need for these products both in the original production and the repair of machine tool spindles and in medical equipment,” said Poul Jeppesen, CEO of SKF USA Inc.

SKF approached Charleston County Council about tax incentives this year for a proposed “super precision ball bearing” production plant that would create 11 to 36 jobs.

The company began operations in the region about 13 years ago by establishing a small bearing-maintenance and repair shop.

It added a manufacturing line to serve the aviation industry and other customers in 2006, when it transferred some production and jobs to the Lowcountry from Jamestown, N.Y.

SKF operates a second manufacturing plant in North Charleston, Venture Aerobearings LLC, under a joint partnership with General Electric Co. That factory is in Palmetto Commerce Park off Ladson Road.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.