South Korea-based electronics giant Samsung on Friday, Jan. 12, officially opened its first U.S. appliance manufacturing plant in Newberry County.
The $380 million, 450,000-square-foot facility, located in the former Caterpillar plant at 284 Mawsons Way, is expected to create about 1,000 jobs by 2020.
To date, the company said it has hired 540 associates for the plant and 90 percent of them are from Newberry and surrounding communities.
“When we selected South Carolina for our new manufacturing facility, we chose a state and a community that believe in the power of innovation, and has the workforce to back it up,” said Hyun Suk Kim, president of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics division, during a launch ceremony Friday at the facility.
“It is thanks to the strong partnership we enjoy that we are here to celebrate the opening of our first U.S.-based home appliance manufacturing facility,” Kim added.
Samsung announced the facility in June 2017.
Since then, it has transformed the site by adding 151,000 square feet of space and installing two manufacturing and assembly lines comprised of 20 presses and 30 injection molding machines, the company said.
The construction phase created jobs for 800 full-time and contract workers.
Samsung said plant employees have begun manufacturing ship-ready washing machines, washer cabinets, inner tubs, and bases from black steel.
The company said the two assembly lines combine its made-in-house components with supplied modules, and a packaging operation that prepares products to be shipped to U.S. customers.
Samsung said it plans to produce 1 million washing machines at the facility this year.
“When Samsung chose South Carolina as the home for its new U.S.-based manufacturing facility, the company chose a state and community with a passion for innovation and a dedication to building world-class products,” said S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement. “Today, we celebrate a major milestone in Samsung’s journey here in South Carolina, and together, we look forward to a bright future.”
During the ceremony, Samsung announced it will donate ten of the inaugural washing machines made at the facility to two Newberry-based nonprofits, the Boys Farm and the Freedom and Hope Foundation. The company said it will also give one inaugural washing machine to the Newberry County museum.
Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America said the company’s vision is for South Carolina to become its “U.S. hub for every stage in the home appliance lifecycle—from concept and [research and development] to manufacturing, quality assurance, distribution, and customer care.”
“South Carolina’s business community welcomes Samsung’s operations to the Palmetto State,” Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “Samsung is a true innovator and, with its exceptional history, is the type of company we want calling South Carolina home.”
“The commitment and investment Samsung, Newberry and the state have made to each other will be transformative for both the region and company,” Pitts added.
Samsung operates a customer call center in Greenville that employs 800 people.
In December, the company announced a new research and development (R&D) partnership with the state, Clemson University, and the University of South Carolina to create the Palmetto Consortium for Home Appliance Innovation (PCHAI).
Samsung said PCHAI is a robust R&D program that seeks to “catalyze innovation, foster public/private collaboration, and nurture the next generation of manufacturing professionals in South Carolina.”
The company touted the more than $10 billion it has invested in the U.S. during the past two years.
That investment includes its $8 billion acquisition of Harman International, a $1.2 billion commitment to Internet of Things R&D Investments, a $1 billion commitment to expanding its semiconductor facility in Austin, Texas, and its purchase of California-based Dacor.
Samsung said it hosted or participated in seven job fairs and built an entire curriculum for workforce training for the Newberry since June.
“I am thrilled to help welcome Samsung to Newberry County and South Carolina today,” said U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in a statement. “I look forward to a productive partnership for years to come, as our world class workforce and competitive business environment mixed with Samsung’s innovative ideas will produce amazing results.”