MICHIGAN CITY — A longtime manufacturer in Michigan City is undertaking a close to $30 million expansion.

The decision should ease any concerns about the future of Sullair, said Mayor Ron Meer. The maker of air compressors was founded in Michigan City in 1965 and purchased by Hitachi in 2017.

The highly diversified Tokyo-based conglomerate has named Michigan City the headquarters of its air compressor related holdings in North America, said Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City.

"This expansion clearly demonstrates their commitment to Michigan City and my administration will continue to support their growth moving forward," Meer said.

The expansion, scheduled to be completed next summer, will add 80,000 square feet to the Sullair production facility along U.S. 35 near the municipal golf course. It will also include extensive equipment upgrades.

Thirty-three new jobs, collectively paying $1.9 million in yearly salaries, are projected from the expansion. Sullair currently employs about 500, Hulse said.

‘’Very exciting for us. We love them. We’re glad they’re here and we want to make sure they do well,’’ Hulse said.

Hitachi purchased Sullair and its other plants in countries like China and India for $1.24 billion.

Sullair products were added to the line of air compressor products already offered by Hitachi mainly in Japan and Asia, officials said.

"Since Hitachi acquired Sullair, our partnership and commitment to the local community has only grown. We’re pleased to continue to make significant local investments in Michigan City, Indiana all while ensuring we better serve our end customers," said Charlie Takeuchi, chief operating officer and executive vice-president for Sullair.

Hitachi’s other business dealings are in areas like information and telecommunication systems, social infrastructure, high functional materials and components and electronic systems and equipment.

According to the Sullair webpage, the company was among the first to use rotary screw technology in their air compressors and teamed up with Dow Chemical to produce one of the industry’s longest lasting compressor fluids.

Sullair also has commercial and manufacturing operations in Chicago and a lubricant research lab in Michigan City.

The City Council Tuesday night approved a five-year tax abatement on $16.2 million in new machinery and equipment and a seven-year tax abatement on $8.2 million in real estate improvements.

Up to $500,000 in tax credits were also offered by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Sullair can start claiming the state tax credits once Indiana residents start being hired for the new positions, IEDC said.
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