Drive into the Yardney Technical Products parking lot at 2000 South County Trail and you won’t see any signs announcing Yardney's presence. You won’t see much of anything indicating Yardney – on the outside. But the high-performance battery manufacturer is there, slowly moving its operation from Pawcatuck, Conn., to East Greenwich.
Look through the windows and you’ll see signs of construction everywhere. According to Yardney owner Richard Scibelli, “We’re still building it out.” The company should be “pretty much moved by the end of September.”
Yardney bought the property – which had been vacant since ON Semi-Conductor moved its manufacturing unit out in 2005 – .
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’s Industrial-Recreational Building Authority guaranteed the $5.2 million loan through Webster Bank for the building's purchase and renovation. That was a big factor in Yardney's decision to move, Scibelli has said.
"The state of Rhode Island was very helpful," he said . "The EDC did an outstanding job putting the package together. Without that, we wouldn't have been able to do it."
Yardney manufactures batteries for the aerospace and defense industries. According to its website, it produced the batteries that have powered the Mars space rover since 2003. In addition, its batteries are used in Air Force planes, undersea applications for the Navy and defense satellites.
Because of the specialized and highly critical nature of their products, Yardney must prove to its clients that the new manufacturing site produces exactly what the old one produced, Scibelli said in an interview Friday.
“We’re in a critical business,” he said. “A lot of our stuff goes on satellites and defense equipment. You have to demonstrate when you move from one place to another that it's the same process.”
So, for a while anyway, manufacturing will be taking place at both sites. He anticipates the transition to be complete by October.
Scibelli said the EG plant will employee 150 to 160 people, “from unskilled labors all the way up to Ph.D’s,” he said. “We’re a very tech-based company.”
He said he wasn’t sure just how many employees from the Pawcatuck plant would be moving to East Greenwich and, consequently, how many jobs may open up for Rhode Islanders.
“I won’t know until it comes time for them to move,” he said.
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