Edwards downsizes manufacturing plant to keep competitive

Its Maine facility is closing and its production transferred to North Carolina, Mexico and China
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PITTSFIELD, Maine—Four years after resurrecting the Edwards name for its fire and safety products, UTC is shutting down its 300-employee Edwards plant here and moving production to three other locations in order to “ensure continued competitiveness.”

The other plants are in Lincolnton, N.C. and in China and Mexico, according to Ashley Barrie, a spokeswoman for UTC Building & Industrial Systems, of which Edwards now is a part. In an email communication, she told Security Systems News: “UTC Building & Industrial Systems has several manufacturing facilities globally, which manufacture products for numerous brands.”

Barrie provided a company statement about the Maine plant’s closing. It said: “Edwards continually evaluates operational improvement opportunities across its businesses to ensure continued competitiveness. In an effort to reduce complexity and improve our ability to serve customers, Edwards plans to close its Pittsfield, Maine facility and move production to three existing facilities currently producing similar products.”

Barrie said the Pittsfield plant “manufactures fire and security products such as commercial fire products from our Edwards brand including detectors, fire panels and signaling equipment.”

The work now being done at the facility will be transferred to the other locations over the coming year and completed by Q2 2015, Barrie said.

When asked if the downsizing means the Edwards brand is not as robust as UTC hoped when the name was revived, Barrie replied, “That is incorrect.” She said Edwards continually looks for ways to improve operations [and] it remains competitive.

The company is working with employees at the Maine plant to “ensure the transition is handled as best [as] possible. Ongoing meetings will outline options including consideration for available positions at other facilities and comprehensive severance benefits,” according to the company. The North Carolina plant plans to add about 100 new positions, Barrie said.

In a 2011 reorganization, UTC Fire & Security became part of UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems. The company reorganized again in 2013 and UTC Climate, Controls & Security became part of UTC Building & Industrial.