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Made in America for 100 Years: TimkenSteel's St. Clair Plant


Editor’s Note: To close out our centennial year, we’re highlighting each of our facilities and its role in contributing to our long-term success. Our last (but not least!) destination of the series is our hard-working St. Clair Plant.

The St. Clair Plant in Eaton, Ohio, is a lean machine.

The facility, which manufactures products for a wide range of precision components for transmissions, engines and steering systems, employs newer process lines that demonstrate how lean thinking optimizes value to the customer and the company.

It all began in 1993, when the first associates were hired and production of three finished races began. The fourth part number was added in 1994 with the cold ring rolling process.

St. Clair expanded three years later in 1996, and again in 2000, to house unique cold form process for complex shapes and additional machining centers.

The finished race business was added to the mix in 2002.

Three years later, the plant changed gears, decommissioning equipment for 4-speed transmission components and beginning production on two new complex lines for 6-speed transmission components.

Things took off in 2007, with lean concepts introduced in 6-speed transmission operation, which increased capacity by 50 percent, and again by an additional 50 percent in 2010.

Amid all that growth, Plant Manager Jeremy Linder’s team has been able to stay focused on TimkenSteel’s core values. He’s proud of that.

“From ethics and integrity to quality, we haven’t rested on the pretext of growth to justify excuses while fulfilling our mission to help our automotive customers push the bounds of what’s possible through the integration of our products and support,” he said.

“There have been many changes during my tenure at St. Clair,” Linder said, “but the most notable one was the transition from Timken to TimkenSteel.” The small, independent plant had a lot to learn and to overcome both internally to the site and externally in the community.

“It’s been a process to get customers, suppliers and ‘folks around town’ to recognize our new name, brand, etc.,” he said. “The headcount growth we’ve experienced has helped with that communication as our employees are talking to their friends, family and neighbors … helping increase our brand awareness in our community and beyond.”

And that, in turn, is making a huge impact on TimkenSteel’s reputation, Linder said.

“Our customer base includes several of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers. Their customers repeatedly speak to the reputation that TimkenSteel has in the automotive parts industry – a reputation that reiterates our core values are being lived out on a daily basis, not just at St. Clair, but throughout our value-added supply chain focus area,” he said.

 Over the next century, Linder anticipates more of the same success.  “During the next 100 years, I see St. Clair continuing to strategically expand to tackle the ‘hard stuff’ that our automotive customers struggle to get right either internally or through their existing supply chain,” he said.

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