Monday, February 6, 2012

Machine-tool maker expands

Chiron America Inc., which makes machine tools, this week celebrates its plant expansion off Westinghouse Boulevard in southwest Charlotte.

Chiron America recently added 20,000 square feet to its 55,000-square-foot facility at a cost of $1.6 million. The company, a subsidiary of Chiron in Germany, added 17 employees last year and is "continually recruiting," according to Chief Operating Officer Dirk Zikeli. He said today that Chiron America is in the market for three electricians right now to boost its workforce of 86.

The company is participating in Apprenticeship 2000, a four-year technical training program available to high school graduates in Charlotte.

As for future growth, "all signs are very, very positive for this year," Zikeli said. He cited the company's automotive customers as one of the main drivers of that growth.

Sales have skyrocketed after bottoming out during the recession. Last year's total was $62 million, up from $48 million in 2010 and $18 million in 2009, Zikeli said.

Thursday's ceremony marks the official opening of the expansion, which actually was completed in October.

Chiron America opened in Charlotte in 1993 as a sales and service center; the North American headquarters was established a year later. The current plant on Withers Cove Park Drive opened in 2001.

For more info, visit the parent company's website at


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