American Axle & Manufacturing Inc.'s Tonawanda plant will supply wheel components for bearing company SKF Group under a long-term contract, further expanding its customer base, the company announced Tuesday.
The Tonawanda forge will deliver four sets of wheel hubs and bearing races to the Graniteville, S.C., plant of SKF, a Swedish-based ball bearing company.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Under the contract, the Tonawanda plant will supply between 100,000 and 900,000 of each of the four parts, which go into a range of vehicles including passenger cars, trucks and sport-utilities, company spokeswoman Karen Manardo said. Production will begin in December.
The contract represents both a new customer for American Axle and a new product, the company said. SKF's previous supplier for the components was a European manufacturer.
The task will help support the forge's current 808 jobs, but will not lead to new hiring, the company said.
"Tonawanda has a little open capacity -- it's good to see that get filled up," said Kevin Donovan, Buffalo-area director of the United Auto Workers. "That makes all their other products more competitive."
SKF will machine and assemble the forged parts from Tonawanda and deliver them to a number of unnamed end-users, American Axle said.
Diversifying its customer base is a priority task for the component supplier, which was spun off from General Motors Corp. in 1997 and supplies the automaker with axles for pickup trucks and SUVs. The Detroit-based company has 2,800 workers at its three plants in Western New York; in Buffalo, Tonawanda and Cheektowaga.
Company chairman and CEO Richard Dauch will attend all-employee meetings at the Buffalo and Tonawanda sites on Thursday and Friday, Ms. Manardo said. The meetings, unconnected to the contract announcement, are to congratulate workers on the company's performance and to take questions from them.
SKF supplies wheel components for cars and trucks from its Graniteville plant near Aiken, S.C. The company is based in Gotborg, Sweden, and has 43,000 workers at 80 plants worldwide.