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An Orangeburg braiding machine manufacturer is closing its doors after nearly 50 years of business.

The family-owned Mayer Industries Inc. announced Tuesday it will cease work at its Industrial Boulevard facility by the end of this year.

"Mayer Industries Inc. has been a longtime resident in Orangeburg," Mayer CEO George Fischer said. "It is with no small sense of sadness that the Mayer family had to make a difficult decision to consolidate manufacturing at the German headquarters of Mayer & Cie."

"The current consolidation of the braiding machine business into the German operations follows the consolidation of the knitting machines business in the early 2000s," Fischer continued. "This consolidation will provide diversification and improved asset utilization."

Orangeburg's Zeus Industries has entered into a contract to purchase the Mayer site for its future expansion opportunities.

Mayer Industries employs about 59 at its Orangeburg plant, according to the Orangeburg County Development Commission's website.

"While no shut-down is ever pleasant, the Mayer family has made several efforts to provide the current Mayer employees a transparent process and support through a difficult two-year period, with the shut-down being announced in November 2017," Fischer said.

"Part of this effort has been an outreach to companies in the area, including Zeus, to provide access and information to the Mayer employees as well as the prospective employers regarding new opportunities for the highly skilled and diligent Mayer employees.”

Fischer praised the company's employees.

"It is a magnificent testament to the diligence, skill, professionalism and determination of the Mayer employees that production was increased in 2018 to record levels, and this performance has continued through 2019," Fischer said. "Somebody will be very lucky to hire the Mayer employees as we wind down operations. They are a credit to Orangeburg and South Carolina."

Mayer has also worked with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce as well as SC Works through Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, training support and state and federal programs for company employees.

Fischer said the Orangeburg County Development Commission has also been a key ally and advocate in these efforts.

"Our heartfelt thanks go out to these organizations and many others for their continued assistance," he said.

Mayer & Cie started in Tailfingen, Germany in 1905. In 1937, the firm was reorganized into its present form of Mayer & Cie and rededicated to the manufacture of circular knitting machines.

Because of the growing demand for the Mayer machines in the Americas, a decision was made to build a new, 150,000-square-foot factory in Orangeburg, to be known as Mayer & Cie (USA).

Construction began on the plant in May 1970 under the leadership of Peter Mayer, the son of the late Emil Mayer, and the facility was completed in November of the same year.

The factory was established to manufacture knitting machines the early 1970s, and braiding machine manufacturing began in the late 1970s.

Mayer was the first West German firm in The T&D Region.

The efficiency and precision of the new plant, Mayer-Rothkopf, then known as Mayer & Cie Inc., was a boost for the area.

Soon after the start of production in Orangeburg, two new product lines including high-pile textile machines as well as high-speed hose braiding machines were introduced during the late 70s.

Its workers underwent a unique training program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical Education Center (now Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College) to equip them with the knowledge of metrics the workers would need for the European-designed machines.

Mayer Industries is a two-time recipient of The President’s “E” Certificate for Exports Award from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for outstanding contribution to the Export Expansion Program of the U.S.

In September 2008, Mayer Industries also received the South Carolina Ambassador of Economic Development Award for continued state and local economic contributions.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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