Star Forge to expand

CHAMPION – Ohio Star Forge has a $20 million expansion investment project in line this year that will mean about 30 new jobs for the area.

Company officials made the announcement Monday at the Champion trustees meeting. In December, Trumbull County commissioners and trustees approved a 60 percent, 10-year property tax abatement on the land, building and improvements of $2.5 million to $3 million.

Bill Orbach, president and CEO of Ohio Star Forge, said the company looked at other locations for the plant, including in Japan, but decided Champion was the ideal spot.

The Champion site employs 96 people, and the expansion should increase that number to about 130, officials said.

Orbach said the expansion includes a 33,000-square-foot building addition to the south end of the existing facility on five acres purchased from Warren Steel Holdings. He said there are plans to add machinery that will double the steel produced to 36,000 tons a year.

”We came to a trustee meeting here last December and applied for a tax abatement for expanding our facility in Champion. I wanted to make this announcement here because this is where the journey began for us. We want to thank everyone who helped us achieve this goal,” Orbach said.

The local facility produces more than 14,000 metric tons of forgings for the automotive and fastener industries on part of the property that formerly was Copperweld Steel.

Bill Pertuzzi of the facility optimization team of Ohio Star Forge, said they plan to hold an opening ceremony in six months and that new machinery should be in place by November.

Orbach said other locations were considered, but there is need for what they produce here.

”One of the major components to be here was not only the market demand in the automotive industry but the trend of localization of supply with more Japanese and European countries making their products here,” he said noting they are using American steel and forging their products here.

”I wanted people to know we do care about Champion and are part of the community. We are committed business here and do hire local people,” he said.

Carl Paglia, director of sales / business development, said the company also is active in the energy and natural gas industry. He said the current business is 75 percent automotive with 25 percent industrial, agricultural and energy.

”Ohio Star Forge has been a good neighbor for the township and we wish them the best of luck,” trustee chairman Jeff Hovanic said.

Trumbull County commissioners Frank Fuda and Paul Heltzel, who also attended the meeting, said Ohio Star Forge’s good management team and good product are a credit to its success.

”We want to thank them for investing in Champion and Trumbull County and bringing new jobs,” Fuda said.

Ohio Star Forge is an independent subsidiary of Daido Steel, a specialty steel conglomerate, with operations in the United States and Japan.