Gestamp's South Charleston Plant a Smash Hit

Charleston Gazette-Mail - By all accounts, Gestamp's South Charleston plant is a smash hit. Read

The auto parts manufacturer rolled into town in 2012, lured by a refurbished building and a mountain of loans, tax breaks and incentives.

Ignacio Pipio, plant director, said the factory has the equivalent of 400 full-time employees, has invested a total of $102 million to date and is operating four cold-stamping lines and six hot lines.

Pipio said Gestamp is currently launching a new program for Honda and that it plans to add a seventh hot line in early 2016.

Cold-stamping lines form auto-body parts out of a cold sheet of steel using great force. It's the traditional way parts are made. Hot-stamping involves heating boron steel and then stamping it. The process produces thinner, stronger parts.

"Gestamp has exceeded our expectation in every way," state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said through a spokeswoman. "It continues to grow and establish the South Charleston facility as an innovator and a leader in its field.

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