By Adam Smith
Construction of the new Carpenter Technology Corporation plant in southern Limestone County is on track, officials said last week, and could be completed ahead of schedule.
David L. Strobel, senior vice president of Global Operations for CTC, said the original startup date for the specialty alloy plant was April 2014, but the company is “working to move that up.”
While Turner Construction has been working at the site, located at the intersection of U.S. 31 South and Thomas Hammonds Road, CTC officials have been monitoring the progress of the plant’s heartbeat — a 100-ton forge, also known as a hydraulic radial press.
Strobel said the press should arrive this summer from Germany and will be delivered via barge up the Tennessee River. It will be installed this fall and may start up by wintertime.
“It’s the centerpiece of the plant, and it will be the biggest radial press in the world,” he said.
The plant has also made significant headway on the hiring of its 200 projected employees. As of last week, 37 people had been hired for the Limestone plant, with 27 of those being full-time salaried workers. Six other employees are classified as salaried non-exempt and four maintenance workers.
“We just put in a request for people interested in production positions and we’ve got 400 applicants in that pool,” Strobel said. “What makes Carpenter successful is the people. We’re convinced this will be a very successful facility for us, and people make the difference.