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Moog plans $12 million expansion in Elma, adding 100 jobs in 5 years

Moog Inc. is planning a $12 million expansion at its Elma campus that is expected to add 100 jobs within the next five years.

The expansion will allow the maker of motion-control equipment bring to its Elma campus manufacturing and testing work for space propulsion products that currently is done in a leased facility in Wheatfield.

The company’s 40 to 50 Wheatfield workers will be shifted to the Elma facility, said Joseph H. Bell, a Moog group vice president.

“The facility will take a while to complete,” he said. “It’s a very complex facility, and we estimate that there are only about 10 of these in private hands worldwide.”

Construction is expected to begin next year, with the facility being completed during the summer of 2018, Bell said. Moog then would start shifting work out of the Wheatfield site, part of the old Bell Aerospace facility there. But he estimated that it will take until 2020 or 2021 before all of the work has been moved out of Wheatfield.

“The new facility will be a whole lot more efficient,” Bell said.

Moog will receive $3.9 million in Excelsior tax credits from New York State to help pay for the expansion.

The 35,000-square-foot facility will include several vacuum chambers that can simulate the near-vacuumlike conditions in space, allowing Moog to test its satellite propulsion systems and components. Moog’s propulsion systems are used on a variety of satellites, including communication, GPS, weather, television, and those used for scientific research.

Each test chamber is about 8 feet in diameter and 25 feet high, with walls that are made with about 2 inches of steel, Bell said.

The process of building the new facility and then transferring the work to its 2,600-employee Elma campus is expected to take up to six years, partly because the equipment must be precisely calibrated to duplicate the conditions in space, Bell said.

The new facility will be built on the eastern end of Moog’s campus, not far from the Jamison Road exit of Route 400 and behind Moog’s octagon-shaped Plant 20 building, Bell said.

“This project highlights our commitment to continue as a world-class supplier of propulsion systems and components for decades to come,” Moog CEO John R. Scannell said in a statement Monday.

“This decision will ensure that one of New York’s premier manufacturing companies remains a leader in the space and defense industries,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

The expansion announcement comes three days after Moog reported a 26 percent drop in its first-quarter profits and warned that its profits during the current fiscal year would be flat, while sales are expected to drop by about 2 percent. Moog said that its industrial markets have weakened as the global economy has cooled and that plunging oil prices have cut its business in the energy sector.

The disappointing earnings and lower guidance sparked a wave of selling in Moog’s stock that began Friday and continued into Monday, sending its share price down by 22 percent since Thursday. Its shares closed Monday at $43.03, down by $3.30, or 7.12 percent.