Morenci’s General Broach company seeks a tax abatement on $852,000 worth of equipment. A hearing is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Monday before the start of the city council meeting.
Two sets of equipment are included in the purchase, explained plant manager Larry Stover. One is an upgrade on existing equipment; the other replaces older machinery.
The upgrade is described as retro-fitting existing CNC equipment to allow the company to remain competitive in the automotive field—an area where manufacturers are looking harder and harder for ways to save cash in the troubled American industry.
Stover hopes this will allow General Broach to maintain its existing capacity while aggressively seeking new customers.
The new form grinder will create cutting tools for use in the aerospace industry. The tools are used by other manufacturers to produce high pressure turbine disks for jet engines—both commercial and military.
Stover said the company intends to broaden its customer base in Europe and Asia. The plant has been audited by representatives from Japan, Germany and France, and tools have been designed and are being manufactured that will go to an aerospace company in Turkey. Representatives from India are also making plans for a visit in October.
Stover expects some growth in employment when new contracts are developed, but it’s a slow process.
“It’s a major step for these companies,” he said. “They want to make sure they’re doing the right thing.”
The new equipment required an 11-month lead time before installation, and it’s now been in operation for two months, running on two shifts.