Carleton Technologies expects to hire 30 additional workers over the next year after its British-based parent company decided to close a sister plant in California and shift some of that work to Orchard Park.
The move will bring the weapons carriage and release business of Cobham Plc to Orchard Park, adding a line of fighter jet bomb racks to the products made at the Carleton plant at 10 Cobham Drive, said general manager Ken Kota.
The shift will add about $30 million a year in revenues to the Orchard Park facility and move all of the production, engineering and research and development work associated with the weapons carriage and release products, he said.
About half the new jobs -- which will bolster the plant's existing work force of 305 -- will be engineers, while the other half will be technicians, Kota said.
Carleton already has begun shifting some of the work, but the transfer is not expected to be completed until next September, Kota said.
The company initially will accommodate the additional work within its current plant, but Kota said it's possible that Carleton will need to expand its facility if the new product line and its existing work on life support and pneumatic actuator products continues to grow. That growth led to the hiring of 30 additional workers within the last year and, if it continues, could lead to 20 further jobs within the next year, Kota said.
The bomb racks that will be coming to Orchard Park are used on F-15 fighter jets, and the company also is developing them for the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, as well, Kota said.
The bomb-rack products fit at the Orchard Park plant because they use pneumatic actuators, similar to other products already made at the facility, to generate powerful bursts of compressed air that help release the weapons.
The Orchard Park plant also makes microclimate cooling units that help keep combat vehicles, such as tanks, cooler in extremely hot environments. The facility also makes oxygen systems used by the military in high-altitude parachute jumps, among other products.
Both U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Erie County Executive Chris Collins applauded the move.
The plant Cobham is closing is located in El Monte, Calif. As part of the move, the company is creating an aerial tanker refueling center for excellence at its plant in Davenport, Iowa, which is expected to lead to the creation of 80 new jobs and possibly as many as 200 more in the future.