Columbia, S.C.-based Hubbell Power Systems Inc. is investing $8.9 million and creating 73 jobs at the Rocky Mount, N.C., facility where it produces PenCell Plastics-brand enclosures for utility infrastructure.
On the market since 1960, the lightweight, durable, heavily ribbed polyethylene enclosures come in box form for underground uses and pedestal form for above-ground protection of industrial, communications, electrical utility, water, drain and gas infrastructure such as buried cables.
The enclosures are manufactured by injection molding high density PE and rotationally molding low density PE at a 185,000-square-foot plant in Rocky Mount, according to a video on a company website.
Equipment pads also are among the 600,000 parts produced annually at the site, which employs about 100 people.
The Rocky Mount investment will expand capacity to meet growing demand, according to company officials.
Hubbell Power Systems is a business unit of Hubbell Inc., which bought PenCell in early 2014 for $30.1 million and added it to its power systems segment.
Based in Shelton, Conn., Hubbell Inc. operates manufacturing facilities in the United States and around the world. The company posted 2020 sales of $4.2 billion.
For 2021, Hubbell expects sales growth of 11 percent to 13 percent. Most recently, the company reported a strong second quarter with significant volume and orders growth across electrical and utility end markets, according to Gerben Bakker, chairman, president and CEO.
During a July 27 earnings call, Bakker said grid modernization initiatives, renewables projects and the replacement of aging infrastructure continue to drive demand from utility customers while heavy industrial and non-residential markets that had been hampered by the pandemic have begun to recover.
If Hubbell meets its job creation and investment targets in Rocky Mount, the company will receive a $200,000 performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund to help facilitate the expansion.
"This expansion allows us to meet the current and growing future needs of our customers, while providing job growth opportunity for people in the Rocky Mount community," Scott Martz, vice president and general manager of Hubbell Power Systems, said in the release.
The new jobs will pay a salary of $40,000 a year on average, which the release says is in line with Nash County's average annual wage.
After the new jobs are filled, the regional area will benefit from a payroll boost of more than $3 million every year.