A German manufacturer of instrument gauges is projecting measured growth over the next five years in the United States thanks to a boom in domestic oil and gas production.
WIKA Instrument LP is planning to hire 250 people over the next five years at its U.S. headquarters and factory in Lawrenceville.
“Most of our customer base is in oil and gas, and with the shale energy boom, that has created more need for production for us,” Marketing Manager Bill Anderson told Global Atlanta.
The U.S. is in the midst of what many have called an energy revolution with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that allows oil and gas producers to break open rock to get at deeply embedded reserves.
WIKA’s gauges monitor the flows of liquids and gases through pipes at production plants, from oil refineries to wastewater facilities and paper mills. The “downstream petroleum” segment, which includes oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical plants, makes up about 40 percent of the company’s business, Mr. Anderson said.
Based on a lean manufacturing approach where production happens in teams rather than on assembly lines, company officials projected the need for 250 new workers, mostly in the factory but some customer support and sales.
Klingenberg, Germany-based WIKA has seen Gwinnett County as a solid platform for growth since setting up its U.S. base there in 1990. The company now employs 600 people and has nearly tripled sales to $130 million from $45 million 16 years ago, Mr. Anderson added.
The company has maintained a strong relationship with economic development groups like the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, which announced the WIKA expansion in a news release Sept. 13.
Gwinnett chamber officials visited the company’s head offices during a December 2012 mission to Germany and France. More than 500 foreign-owned firms call Gwinnett home, including more than 70 from Germany.