MILTON — A French company that makes a concrete conveyers belt picked Milton as the headquarters of its North American market. It's Northumberland County's first foreign investment project.
Rotabelt USA general manager Mark Knutson said the goal is to have the warehouse distribution open by next week and the shop and installation open by the end of September. The 12,000-square-foot space at 2297 Housels Run Road — where Clark Technology Systems used to be — in the Milton Industrial Park will have 10 employees by the end of its first year.
"It's a great area, the location is really good," said Knutson. "We're real close to I-80, so for customers finding us and new customers, it's a real convenient location."
The Rotabelt T3D16 Mixer-Mounted Conveyor was distributed by Shumaker Industries in Northumberland for at last 10, but now the parent company wants to establish its own American headquarters. The longest, mixer-mounted conveyor available in North America has a patented 360-degree rotating discharge chute that attaches to a concrete ready-mix truck and that can pour around corners.
"The system allows you to pour a little bit further than you could with a conventional truck at a more economical price than having to get a pump truck in to pour the concrete," said Knutson. "It's kind of a niche market here in the U.S. but since the recession, its grown enough where they can justify opening their own location in the U.S."
Typically, said Knutson, concrete companies like Central Builders Supply Company in Sunbury or Dan-Ber Concrete & Supply, Inc. in Mifflinville have one conveyor for every 10 trucks, but European companies are equipped with the product for 90 percent of their fleet.
Knutson said the space has overhead cranes, an area to sandblast and a paint booth.
Rotabelt USA will provide conveyers sales and installation, to spare parts and troubleshooting. Shumaker will continue to work with Rotabelt during the transition period.
Northumberland County Planning and Economic Development Director Donald Alexander worked with Rotabelt since March to help establish a location. Several locations were toured, including a property adjacent to the former Knight-Celotex site.
"I'm excited about this one," Alexander said. "This is Northumberland County's first-ever foreign direct investment project. That speaks volumes about our marketability to national and international prospects."
While it's a small start, Alexander said the strategy is to bring in the smaller companies and help them grow.
Rotabelt also worked closely with Landmark Commercial Realty, of Lemoyne, as well as Lauren Bryson of Focus Central Pennsylvania, Tea Jay Aikey of the Central PA Chamber of Commerce, and the office of state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108.