ATI and GE investing in joint operation in Chester

“1725” has turned into $28 million for Chester County.

Four months after Chester County Council authorized County Economic Development Director Karlisa Dean to proceed with negotiations on “Project 1725” the company behind the code name was revealed on Tuesday when Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) and GE Aviation announced they had selected the property adjacent to ATI’s Richburg, S.C. operations as the site for a new research and development facility. This joint venture is expected to create 29 new jobs.

ATI is a global manufacturer of technically-advanced specialty materials and complex components and is a market leader in manufacturing differentiated products. ATI is a leader in producing powders for use in next-generation jet engine forgings and 3D-printed aerospace products.

General Electric has invested approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies since 2010 and is leading the aerospace industry in incorporating additively-manufactured components in the latest generation of jet engines. GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components, integrated digital, avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.

The joint venture between these two companies will develop titanium alloy powders for use in additive manufacturing, utilizing a new meltless alloy powder technology. Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and will be completed in 2019 as the facility becomes operational.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.

Chester County Supervisor Shane Stuart said ATI has been a good corporate citizen in Chester for years and that the expansion is, in many ways, a comment on the quality of the county’s workforce.

“ATI has been a valued corporate citizen within our community since its original announcement in 1989. The company’s success and its commitment to Chester, is a testament to our workforce and to our continued economic development efforts. We are grateful that ATI is launching this joint venture with GE Aviation. We look forward to celebrating the success of this endeavor and will continue to assist both companies in any way possible,” Stuart said in a release.

“We congratulate ATI and GE Aviation on their joint venture and investment in Chester County, South Carolina,” said Chester Development Association Chairman Mike Enoch. “This announcement is another example of Chester County’s diverse manufacturing base. We look forward to the long-term results from this joint venture from these two dynamic companies.”

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the 29 new jobs “show a commitment to South Carolinians that we couldn’t be more grateful for.”

On Monday, Chester County Council considered third-reading approval of a measure related to the announcement. The council unanimously approved  an ordinance “authorizing the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of tax agreement” with “the inclusion of certain real property located in Chester County in a multi-county industrial park (and) the provision of credits against fee in lieu of tax payments.” That came with very little discussion, other than Dean explaining that $20 million or the $28 million investment would be spent on tangible assets.

The facility is expected to be operational by 2019.

By Travis Jenkins, Staff Reporter with The News & Reporter