Supplier to Rolls-Royce expanding operations in Henrico

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL Richmond Times-Dispatch

Jul 18, 2017

A United Kingdom-based supplier to aircraft components maker Rolls-Royce is expanding its office and manufacturing center in Henrico County, economic development officials said Tuesday.

Erodex Ltd., a graphite products maker, is investing $2 million in its location operations to supply the Rolls-Royce factory in Prince George County, the Greater Richmond Partnership announced.

Erodex first opened an office in the area in March 2016 and is occupying 2,500 square feet in the Byrd Corporate Center at 5727 S. Laburnum Ave. in eastern Henrico. The company has four local employees.

The company is roughly doubling its work space after signing a five-year agreement to supply Rolls-Royce’s Crosspointe manufacturing center in Prince George, where Rolls-Royce makes aircraft components such as turbine blades.

“We’re very happy to call the Richmond region home,” John Rolinson, co-director of Erodex, said in a statement.

Rolinson said Erodex has been supplying graphite electrodes to Rolls-Royce from its operations in the United Kingdom, but as Rolls-Royce’s Virginia operations grew, Erodex agreed to open a tool room in the Richmond region.

Erodex becomes one of more than 40 U.K.-based companies with operations in the Richmond region.

It is the second Rolls-Royce supplier to announce an investment in the Richmond region this year. In February, Pryor Technology Inc., another United Kingdom-based company that provides marking, identification and traceability services, announced it would open a 5,000-square-foot manufacturing center employing 10 people in Hanover County.

Although the staffing for both companies is relatively small, both have the potential to grow and add jobs, said Barry Matherly, chief executive officer of the Greater Richmond Partnership, a regional economic development organization.

“Both are establishing a presence here, anticipating the current and future growth of the Rolls-Royce facility,” he said. “And they have the option of selling to other clients now that they are established here.”

Matherly said about 70 percent of the business prospects that the partnership is working to recruit to the region are based overseas. The economic development group has recruited about 20 new foreign direct investment projects to the region during the last three years, he said.

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