A European company will open its first manufacturing facility in the Dan River Region, with the intent of creating eight new jobs and investing $1.9 million over three years.
Gefertec LLC, a company specializing in additive manufacturing technology — a form of 3D printing — made the announcement Monday during a meeting of the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority.
The jobs will pay at least $60,000 per year, according to a RIFA handout.
The company, based in Berlin, Germany, develops new methods for making metallic parts, enabling the companies that buy its technology to streamline their production.
“This technology allows you to grow a part from the ground up,” Danville Economic Development Director Telly Tucker said.
Traditionally, metal is machined by starting with a solid block of material and it is reduced to make a product. But Gefertec’s additive technology provides a spool of wire to be made into a metallic part for a product a company is making, Tucker said.
“It eliminates waste from a metal standpoint,” Tucker said.
Gefertec already is operating at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, located in Danville, Assistant Economic Development Director Corrie Teague Bobe said.
The company will rent temporary space at the Institute for two years, with rent covered by RIFA. The company will move to a permanent space in the Dan River Region in the future.
The Virginia Tobacco Commission will reimburse the authority $45,000 to help cover a portion of the $50,752 rent. The authority will cover the remaining $5,752, but taxes from machinery and tools should pay for that after a year, City Manager Ken Larking said.
“Gefertec is another piece of our advanced manufacturing puzzle and they fit well among our current clients, and we look forward to them being wildly prosperous,” Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman said.
Company CEO Tobias Roehrich said in a prepared statement the project “is in alignment with our long-term commitment to Danville and the Institute.”
“We are excited to expand our business to the U.S.,” he said in the statement. “Danville has been chosen for its excellent business and community support and its involvement in the advanced manufacturing sector.”
State Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, a member of the tobacco commission, called Gefertec’s announcement “another big win for Danville- Pittsylvania County.”
“It goes to show that investments in facilities like IALR pay dividends to our area,” Marshall said in a prepared statement.
RIFA Board Chairman Fred Shanks said the company’s additive manufacturing technology enhances services offered in the region and complements investments made in “creating an advanced manufacturing cluster.”
“We continue to believe in a bright future for Danville [and] Pittsylvania County and for Gefertec,” Shanks said in a prepared statement.
In another matter, the RIFA board voted 4-0 to approve the $180,000 purchase of about 30 acres between the U.S. 58 bypass and Berry Hill Road, about 1,000 feet west of the Oak Ridge Farms Road interchange.
Funding for the purchase, which is to buy property that would be affected by a connector road to the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, would come from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.