Hanover coupling maker to shut down

Kop-Flex Inc. will lay off 125 hourly and salaried workers

July 12, 2010|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun

A Hanover-based maker of components for power transmissions, oil rigs and steel mills said Monday it will shut its manufacturing operation in the next 12 months to 15 months and lay off 125 hourly and salaried workers.

Kop-Flex Inc., a division of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co., will phase out manufacturing at the Anne Arundel County location on Harmans Road, a decision based on "global economic and competitive pressures," Dave Baldridge, an Emerson spokesman, said Monday.

Baldridge said the shutdown, expected by September 2011, will affect 87 hourly and 38 salaried employees. Workers were told of the plans June 28 by representatives of Emerson's Power Transmission Solutions division, Baldridge said.

"This difficult decision is not a reflection on the quality of work being performed at the Hanover plant," Baldridge said in a statement.

The company plans to keep its sales and marketing, engineering and other salaried support functions in the Baltimore area, he said.

The company, formerly called Koppers, became an independent company under the Kop-Flex name in 1986 and was acquired by Emerson in 1996, according to Emerson's website. It has operated at the Harmans road site since 1966.

Before the acquisition by Emerson, the plant had about 225 hourly workers, said Mark Rivers, an assembler/balancer at the plant for 31 years and president of Local 1784 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents 87 workers at the plant, including machinists and support jobs.

"They've moved a lot of production out of here," said Rivers, who said employees were told that work would move to other plants with excess capacity. The union is in negotiations with company representatives over the terms of the shutdown, he said.

He said the plant makes products for the oil industry, such as products for oil rigs and couplings used in steel mills.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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