A German company that makes instrument transformers for electrical power relay and measurement is building its only North American plant in Hartwell.

RITZ Instrument Transformers will invest $3 million to build a new, 30,000-square-foot facility.

Instrument transformers convert high-voltage electrical currents into proportional, lower-voltage currents that can be relayed and measured safely. 

RITZ will employ 50 people by the end of its second year of operation and hopes to create more jobs as it grows, said David Dearlove, CEO of the Hamburg, Germany-based company’s U.S. operation.

Mr. Dearlove told GlobalAtlanta that RITZ chose northeast Georgia because of the “quality of the workforce we’ll able to attract.”

“I think that was the primary driver,” he said.

While the newly announced facility is being built from the ground up, RITZ isn’t entirely new to Georgia.

The company built a high-voltage instrument transformer plant in Waynesboro in 1991.  AREVA T&D, an electricity unit of France-based energy company AREVA Group, bought that plant in 2006.

RITZ’s new facility will make low- to medium-voltage transformers, Mr. Dearlove said.

As the company’s only manufacturing plant in the U.S., the Hartwell facility cover all of North America as well as Central and South America.

About 25-30 percent of its products will be exported, Mr. Dearlove said.

The new plant is RITZ’s seventh worldwide.  There’s one each in Austria, China and Hungary, while the rest are in Germany, he said.

Georgia’s ports handled record traffic for fiscal year 2015, with container volumes jumping 17 percent to 3.66 million thanks to a confluence of factors.  More