Whitcraft Group, Scarborough, Maine, USA to Close
Unfortunately we believe that this sad story will be repeated many times over the next few months. We mentioned this facility due to the fact that it has a fairly impressive in house heat treating department, part of which can be seen in this photo.
“The parent company of a Scarborough, Maine, USA manufacturing plant specializing in aircraft engine components laid off 125 employees Thursday and is closing the facility. Whitcraft Group CEO Doug Folsom said sharply reduced air travel due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions has eliminated demand for the precision-tooled components produced at the plant, noting that commercial air traffic is down by 95 percent. “I know how talented the workforce is; they’re a bunch of a tremendous machinists,” Folsom said. “It’s just heartbreaking to close the plant, but we can’t operate the plant if there’s no demand for the product.” Whitcraft joins a number of Maine companies that have laid off workers recently in response to physical distancing and stay-at-home measures designed to fight the spread of COVID-19. Most employees had been on furlough for the past month as Whitcraft continued to pay for benefits. Folsom said Friday was the first day of being laid off for all but “30 or 40” who will continue to work on closing the facility over the next three months.
The Connecticut-based company has 11 divisions and the Scarborough facility is one of three being shut down because of issues related to the pandemic. The other two are in Arizona and Florida. He said Whitcraft laid off 20 percent of its workforce at eight other facilities that make components for non commercial aircraft, and which remain operational. Whitcraft bought the Scarborough facility a year ago from LAI International. Folsom said the company had raised pay and, until two months ago, had been planning for growth. “The final determination only came in the last couple days,” Folsom said. “As early as a week ago, we thought we’d be able to keep Scarborough open.” What originally began as the Rich Tool & Die Co. in Windham moved to Scarborough in 1992 and changed its name to Rich Technology International. It featured material processing machines for clean-cutting, welding, profile machining and hole-drilling, according to the website of LAI, which bought the facility in 2007.”