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Trelleborg unit building new facility

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Trelleborg Rubore A.B. has begun constructing a 48,500-sq.-ft. facility in Northville to consolidate the firm's North American testing and commercial operations.

The business unit of Trelleborg Automotive said the site will house its brake test laboratory-including dynamometers that currently are located at the company's Norcross, Ga., plant-along with a technical laboratory and commercial offices that are based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Construction of the facility began in December with completion set for June.

Technical and commercial employees based in Bloomfield Hills ``will all hopefully transfer with us to the new site,'' a spokeswoman said.

Most of the 15 employees involved in the testing unit at Norcross probably won't relocate to Northville, according to John Bennett, managing director for Trelleborg Rubore Inc., the U.S. arm of the company. They will receive severance packages and assistance in finding other employment, he said.

Both the Bloomfield Hills and Norcross facilities will continue operating. He said the Norcross facility houses a key warehouse for Trelleborg, and Bloomfield Hills houses other Trelleborg operations besides Rubore.

``This move is about expansion,'' Bennett said. ``We've outgrown the facility in Bloomfield Hills. This move will almost double our size.''

He said an additional four or five people will be hired, and the Northville research and development center will have a work force of between 35 and 40.

Previously, much of Trelleborg Rubore's research and development was handled in Sweden. As the firm's North American business grows, ``it has become necessary to set up a satellite R&D center in the U.S. close to the customer,'' the spokeswoman said.

Trelleborg Rubore's objective is to continue to provide exceptional service to its growing automotive customer base, said Percy Josefsson, Trelleborg Rubore A.B. managing director.

He said the new R&D complex will make the product development process much more convenient and efficient for the company and its customers.

The center will offer component and chassis testing, customer-focused product development, durability testing and quick prototyping.