A Swedish bearing manufacturer that set up shop in North Charleston 20 years ago is moving production out of the area but keeping it within South Carolina.
SKF Group announced Tuesday that it is consolidating its Pepperdam Industrial Park plant and another in Ohio at its existing Sumter factory under a $62 million plan to to strengthen "its manufacturing footprint and competitiveness in North America."
The two U.S. sites will be closed over the next 12 to 18 months and result in a reduction of about 120 jobs.
In a written statement, executive John Schmidt said the Gothenburg-based company is "committed to fully supporting" the affected workers "as they transition to roles outside SKF."
As part of the reshuffling, the manufacturer will invest more than $41 million in its Sumter operation while also also moving some bearing production from China to Mexico under the new business strategy for the North American market.
"These investments represent the next steps in developing our regional manufacturing capabilities," Kent Viitanen, SKF's president of bearing operations, said in the prepared statement.
The planned upgrades for the Sumter site, which is considerably larger than the North Charleston location, will expand the plant's product lines and include new automated manufacturing technologies, he said.
The company began operations in the Lowcountry about 20 years ago by establishing a bearing-maintenance and repair center. It began manufacturing to serve the aviation industry and other customers in 2006, when it transferred some production and jobs to the Lowcountry from Jamestown, N.Y.
In 2013, the company invested $3 million to add a 25-worker production line to make high-precision ball bearings locally rather than import them from Italy.
SKF is a joint-venture partner with General Electric Co. in a separate manufacturing plant in North Charleston that operates under the name Venture Aerobearings LLC. A spokeswoman said Tuesday that business is not affected by the Sumter consolidation, nor is a small service unit that the Swedish company operates within that site.