6309 Monarch Park Place, Suite 203
Niwot, CO 80503, USA
Phone (303) 443-5060
Toll free (888) 742-5060
The Darlington plant was opened in 1964 by the former Torrington Company, which Timken recently acquired. The plant produces large cylindrical, spherical and tapered roller bearings that are used in a range of industrial applications, including rolling mills, mining, construction and wind energy.
"Darlington has been an important part of the company for nearly four decades," said Michael J. Hill, vice president-manufacturing, for the company's Industrial Group. "The decision to close it did not come easily and only after careful study. We very much regret the impact this action will have on the lives of our associates who work at Darlington. They have made many contributions and have earned our respect. As the plant ceases production, we will be providing comprehensive support as we have done with previous redundancy programs.
"In early 2000, we began a process to transform The Timken Company," said Mr. Hill. "A fundamental goal of the transformation, which includes the manufacturing strategy, is to make The Timken Company more profitable, more customer-centric and better able to grow. For that to happen, each plant must be competitive globally in the products that it manufactures. We'll continue to monitor the progress of our plants toward meeting this goal."
Implementation of the manufacturing strategy has the company on track to reduce costs by $120 million annually by the end of 2004. That total does not include savings to be realized from integrating Torrington into Timken.
Twice in the last two years, as the Darlington plant attempted to cope with a weakened economy and worldwide excess capacity, its workforce has been reduced. Despite improvements, the plant continues to have high fixed costs and has been unable to achieve an acceptable rate of return on investments and thus remain competitive globally. "We have challenged all of the plants in our manufacturing network to achieve lowest total costs in their product lines," said Mr. Hill. "At the same time, we have been succeeding in elevating the level of customer service -- an imperative in an intensely competitive worldwide marketplace."
Production at the plant would be transferred to other Timken manufacturing facilities which already focus on the products made at Darlington and which produce them in larger quantities and at lower costs. Movement of equipment is expected to begin between July and September. "During this transition," said Mr. Hill, "we would work to assure an uninterrupted flow of supply to customers."