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Former Danaher plant in Amherst facing shutdown

An Amherst manufacturing plant that produces power transmission parts for industrial equipment will be shutting down shortly - putting as many as 100 jobs at risk - after the company that bought the facility last year decided to consolidate.

Altra Industrial Motion, based in suburban Boston, is planning to close the former Thomson Linear Motion facility on Hazelwood Drive at some point, after it shifts production into another plant it owns in East Aurora, as well as to "a couple of other places in the U.S.," said spokesman Craig Schuele.

The decision stems from an effort to cut costs and duplication, following a major corporate purchase last year that left Altra with three separate manufacturing facilities in Western New York.

"In order to achieve the best manufacturing efficiencies possible, we're realigning the organization," resulting in the Amherst operation being closed, Schuele said.

The plant currently employs "fewer than 100" workers, but Schuele would not be more specific. He said "there may be opportunities" to move some jobs to East Aurora, but managers are still in the midst of negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which represents the employees. No closing date has been set, pending the outcome of the union talks.

Altra, based in Braintree, Mass., designs, produces and sells electro-mechanical power transmission, motion-control and automation products that are used in a variety of industries for engine braking systems, precision motors, clutches and brakes, couplings and gears, and belted drives. The company employs 10,000 in 50 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, and sells under 26 brands.

Last October, Altra completed its $2.9 billion purchase of the Automation & Specialty businesses of Fortive Corp., which itself was created in a July 2016 spinoff of several divisions of Danaher Corp. The Amherst plant, which was original Thomson Industries, had been part of Danaher, and was included in both the Fortive spinoff and the Altra purchase.

At the time of the purchase, Altra already had a power-transmission components plant in Niagara Falls, and also gained the East Aurora facility from Fortive.

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