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02/12/2010

New Plant to Open in Cabell County

Nippon Tungsten recently purchased the 10,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Central Sales at 2986 Cyrus Creek Road, off U.S. 60 in Barboursville. It will be a high-tech specialized machine shop that will resharpen blades manufactured by Nippon Tungsten's equipment in Japan.

The Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO) worked in partnership with the state and Nippon Tungsten officials to recruit the company.

"We're thrilled. It's great to have a new company here, particularly foreign investment," said Marc Sprouse, president of HADCO. "We've been working with the state development office for several months now to bring it to fruition, and I think the company will be pleased with the location here and hopefully will grow their employee base."

The facility will service the company's customers located throughout North America. Procter & Gamble is a big customer of Nippon Tungsten, so Huntington's proximity to Cincinnati was a factor in its decision to relocate here, Sprouse said. Another factor that may have sold the region is the presence of other Japanese companies, such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia and Nippon Thermostat.

It will be the company's first facility in North America and its first wholly-owned subsidiary outside of Japan.

"Before deciding where to open our first facility in the U.S., we evaluated various locations," Shozo Yoshida, president of Nippon Tungsten, said in a press release. "West Virginia offered advantages such as proximity to customers and an existing building that met our needs. When we also considered the assistance from state and local government and the positive experience of other Japanese companies in this state, we found West Virginia to be the best choice."

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has been instrumental in developing and sustaining ties between the state and businesses in Japan, said the release from the state Department of Commerce.

"This announcement of the 21st Japanese company to invest in West Virginia marks another important step in our relationship with Japan, and the jobs created truly matter," Rockefeller said. "Nippon Tungsten's choice to locate in West Virginia is further proof that our state is a great place to invest and grow."

It's a very high-tech operation, with most of Nippon Tungsten's $2.4 million investment going toward equipment, Sprouse said.

For the business's customers, blade sharpness is imperative to cut materials with speed and precision, the release said. Procter & Gamble relies on the blades to cut products such as sanitary napkins and diapers.

The blades are sharpened in an intricate three-stage process. In the final stage, the blades are filed by a skilled technician equipped with microscope-enhanced vision.

Nippon Tungsten refines and fabricates tungsten and other metals to manufacture fine ceramic and refractory products. Nippon Tungsten products and technologies include die cutters, ceramic substrate, electrical contact and alloy metal components. The company is headquartered in Fukuoka City on Kyushu Island, Japan. The firm has offices and factories throughout Japan, China and Thailand.