EDITORIAL: Industry gives region plenty to be proud of

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

It’s been said that local industry is not what it once was.

For those who believe the demise of manufacturing has arrived, that’s far from the truth. Industry in Central Carolina is alive and well, thank you.

It is with pleasure that The Herald presents its annual Industry Edition today, highlighting many of the industries that call this region home.

So how well is manufacturing faring in the area? Just consider some of the good news coming from our local companies featured in this year’s edition:

• Olivia Machine & Tool: Waves of change have washed over the entire operation in recent years as Olivia Machine has added space, employees and equipment to provide high quality and good service.

• STI Polymer: Since its establishment about a dozen years ago, STI Polymer has used state-of-the-art technology to produce polymers for a staggering range of industrial uses.

• Coty: This year alone, the local operation will produce about 70 million bottles of fragrances — or 270,000 bottles each day.

• PolySi: Even in a sluggish economy that began about five years ago — at a time when other companies were losing 40, 50, even 75 percent of their business — PolySi held its own with steady sales or modest growth.

• Frontier Spinning Mills: The company is the second-largest producer of spun yarns in the United States, using more than 450 million pounds of cotton a year, and exports more than half of its product to other countries.

• Mertek Solutions: Mertek Solutions is now negotiating to produce a $1 million machine, which is a large project, to be sure, but nothing all that unusual. Among its recent projects is another million-dollar piece of equipment designed to produce an automotive component for the catalytic converter.

• LCI: Industrial recycling wasn’t even on the radar a few years ago when some local companies wanted to make LCI Inc. a greater part of their manufacturing operations. Now, the community rehabilitation center is bustling with associates collecting and sorting all kinds of recyclable material that is later sold to other companies for processing.

• Pfizer: With Pfizer looking to the future and remaining committed to developing life-saving vaccines, Pfizer Sanford has a new role in the company’s global supply network as a vaccine launch site.

• Zurn: Innovation has always been a hallmark at Zurn Commercial Brass. And with a dozen new product launches this year and another 15 already on next year’s calendar, the pace of change won’t be slowing any time soon.

• GKN: The company is already operating at 100 percent capacity once again. And with demand still rising, it needs to find some way to produce even more.

• DNZ Products: With all of its new opportunity, the company’s marketing focus has shifted to the world. DNZ Products now has distributors in Canada, Mexico and other locations around the globe.

• Static Control: The company releases approximately 70 new products monthly and has more than 1,000 products now in development.

• Pentair: Pentair also has continued its dramatic transformation in Sanford from a more traditional manufacturing facility into a cutting-edge operation.

• Caterpillar: The Building Construction Products Division is introducing 14 new models of skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders — compact equipment used for construction and landscaping.

• Flakeboard: By assuming operations of the Moncure site, Flakeboard has strengthened its position in the southern U.S. with a state-of-the-art plant producing particleboard, medium-density fiberboard and thermally-fused laminate (melamine) panels for residential and commercial, kitchen, retail and institutional furnishings.

• Moen: Moen began local production four decades ago as Stanadyne in a building just one-eighth the size of the current facility.

It’s great to report that manufacturing appears to be doing well in Central Carolina.

In today’s Industrial Edition, you’ll read about the role that education is playing in the industry world. The Lee County school system and Central Carolina Community College are playing an integral role in training future industrial workers.

We’re proud to have such an varied industrial base in Central Carolina — and we hope you’ll enjoy learning more about them in this year’s Industrial Edition.