Suhner Holding AG President Otto Suhner took a power grinder and sent sparks flying as he sawed through steel cable to ceremonially open the corporation’s new facility.
The expansion at Brugg Cables, 25 Anderson Drive, represents a $6 million investment.
One machine alone, a planetary strander dubbed Enzo — after Enzo Ferrari — is so fast that it will allow Brugg to increase its steel wire production capacity by 150 percent. All told, the expanded facility will allow the company to increase its capacity by 200 percent.
That’s significant because Brugg has sold 100 percent of the capacity of its Rome facility in four of the last five years.
The lone exception to that was in 2010, which Brugg Cables President Karl Zimmerman said was the peak of the economic downtown as far as Brugg was concerned.
Brugg Cables LLC came to Rome in 1998 following the merger of Brugg Cable Products and Brugg Telecom, both of which had been headquartered in Houston, Texas.
When the decision was made to consolidate the companies, Suhner, the corporate president, said there was no question that the new offices would be located in Rome adjacent to the Suhner Manufacturing facility on Anderson Drive.
Zimmerman told a group of local business leaders and officials representing Brugg clients from as far away as Texas and Puerto Rico that the addition of a laser C-Tube fiber optic stranding machine was the most exciting piece of new technology the company was adding.
“I have everything that I need in-house now,” Zimmerman said.
The investment allowed Brugg to move a large portion of its manufacturing capacity from Switzerland to Rome where it is now being produced closer to its customers.
“It also does away with the risks of changing exchange rates,” Zimmerman said. “We also believe the U.S. is going to recover quicker than Europe from the economic crisis.”
He said the Suhner/Brugg operations in Rome have grown from five employees in 1976 to more than 200 today. Sales attributed to the Rome operations exceeded $432 million in 2012.
Carl Campbell, with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, praised Suhner and the Swiss executives on hand for the cable-cutting Wednesday.
“You were the first Swiss company to invest in Georgia and certainly the success you have enjoyed has paved the way for those (other international) companies that have located in Rome,” he said.
Local architect Mark Cochran designed the new facility, while Jeff Brooks Building Group of Rome constructed the addition.