Boiler manufacturer Weil-McLain held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 27 for its new 350,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing and training facility in Eden, N.C. This plant replaces the company's Benton Harbor, Ind., location, which will close this year. The company headquarters will remain in Michigan City, Ind.

President Steve Zeller told the large group of invitees that more than 50 locations east of the Mississippi River were researched before deciding on the new location last year. By Feb. 8, 2005, the first boiler was assembled in the Eden plant, and more than 12,000 residential boilers were shipped during the month of August. The company will move its sheet metal fabrication to Eden, and will soon ship commercial boilers as well.

Plant Manager Ed Lodics said the chance to design this new facility allowed them to create subassembly lines and a “flexible factory environment that can react quickly to changes in demand and assembly operation.”

The new training facility, said Weil-McLain National Training Director Dave Walsh, will host the company's School of Better Heating and can accommodate 120 students at a time. It includes a 60-seat auditorium and four live-fire demo rooms for hands-on learning.

Several local dignitaries were on hand to thank Weil-McLain and parent company SPX Corp. for bringing new jobs and industry to North Carolina. The state has previously relied on the textile and tobacco industries, which have seen recent downturns.