SEMCORP Advanced Materials Group will build a battery materials manufacturing plant in Sidney, creating nearly 1,200 jobs, the company announced Thursday.
The Dayton Dayton News reported in March that the plant will make separator film, a key component in batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). SEMCORP’s products will be used by EV battery makers across North America.
James Shih, SEMCORP’s group vice president of global projects, told the Dayton Daily News Thursday that Intel’s plans to build two large semi-conductor production complexes west of Columbus did not influence his company’s decision to come to Ohio.
Instead, proximity to customers, current and prospective, pulled the company to Sidney, as did the experience of another global Chinese company, Moraine’s Fuyao Glass America.
One of SEMCORP’s biggest customers “plans to build multiple plants within one day’s driving distancing of Sidney,” Shih said, adding that he could not identify that company Thursday.
Labor was also a big consideration, he said. He believes the company is already hiring and large-scale recruiting of rank-and-file workers will likely begin next year.
“The Sidney facility is one of the biggest investments in our company’s history because we know the United States is strongly committed to building the supply chains for EVs and energy storage here at home,” Paul Lee, SEMCORP’s co-founder, chairman and CEO, said in an announcement. “Our Sidney site will be America’s largest manufacturer of separator film for EV batteries. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with state and local leaders to make the large-scale domestic production of this component a reality.”
Ohio competed with Texas for the jobs, according to the Dayton Development Coalition.
“We’re thrilled to welcome SEMCORP to the Dayton region. Their decision to manufacture in Sidney advances Ohio’s efforts to develop a robust ecosystem for electric vehicles,” Dayton Development Coalition President and Chief Executive Jeff Hoagland said. “The fast-growing market for electric automobiles and aircraft represents an incredible opportunity for the Dayton region to remain competitive in the changing manufacturing economy and provide opportunities for our skilled manufacturing workforce.”
The facility, expected to create $73 million in annual payroll and $916 million in capital investment, will be located at the Sidney Industrial Park at Millcreek and Kuther roads.
The 850,000-square-foot facility represents the largest foreign direct investment in Ohio, according to JobsOhio, the state’s economic development arm.
The company said no batteries will be made by SEMCORP, and there is no lithium used in the manufacturing process for separator film. In addition to EVs, lithium-ion batteries power a range of consumer products, such as cell phones and computers.
SEMCORP is the largest lithium-ion battery separator film producer in the world with five billion square meters in annual base film production capacity across six manufacturing facilities. The company plans to add an additional eight billion square meters in capacity within the next four years, including the Sidney site, with the objective of serving the EV market. the company said.
“We welcome SEMCORP to Shelby County where they join a long list of innovative, world-class manufacturing companies,” said Jim Hill, executive director, Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership.
SEMCORP also announced the hiring of Jeff Liu as president and CEO of its Advanced Materials International division. Liu was recently the president and CEO of Fuyao Group North America in Moraine.
Fuyao’s experience in Ohio was important to SEMCORP’s final decision, Shih said.
“I think the fact that Fuyao was able to settle down in Dayton and succeed in the region was a big plus for us,” he said.
“SEMCORP has been a critical part of the supply chain to make the worldwide transition toward electric vehicles possible, and I’m excited to use my experience to bring their technology to the Dayton region,” Liu said in the release. “Projects like ours will underwrite the prosperity of this community for the next generation.”
About the Author