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Hinge Plant Rolling Smoothly Along

At Lincoln County’s Blum Inc. plant, about 400 workers produce hinges that make kitchen cabinet drawers and doors practically close by themselves.

Blum specializes in concealed hinges and drawer runners found in high-end cabinets across the United States.

When someone closes a cabinet door or drawer equipped with the company’s patented “Blumotion” system, there’s no slamming sound. That’s because two inches from shutting, Blumotion’s soft-closing mechanism adjusts the tension and pulls the door or drawer closed.

Last week, Blum and Robert Bosch Tool Corp. Packaging and Distribution Center held public open houses as part of the Lincoln Economic Development Association’s celebration of Business Appreciation Week.

Johnny Laney, who lives about two miles from the Blum plant, was among about two dozen people Tuesday who toured the glass office building and its highly automated warehouse. About 10 people toured the Bosch plant on Thursday.

Blum is a family-owned business that was founded in Austria.

Laney remembers when the company built its 30,000-square-foot plant in Lowesville in 1979. It has since grown to 400,000 square feet.

The plant contains things that make you go “ooh and ahh.”

They include everything from glass ceilings in the lobby and hallways, floors that look clean enough to eat off of to a snazzy testing lab that opens and closes doors 200,000 to 300,000 times each to test their durability.

The company’s $13.5 million warehouse added in 2000 has 80 feet of above-ground storage and is fully automated.

The company produces 20,000 hinges in an eight-hour period.

At Bosch’s packaging and distribution center in Lincolnton’s Indian Creek Business Park, folks were also impressed.

The center, which employs about 300 workers, packages and distributes power tool accessories under several familiar brand names including Skil, Craftsman, Vermont American and Bosch.

The products are sold to industrial users and retailers including Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace, and mom-and-pop hardware stores.

The 235,000-square-foot warehouse is a beehive of activity.

Distribution supervisor Skeet Travis said while the machines are important to the operation and have helped reduce labor costs, the work couldn’t be done without employees. Most of them have 15 to 26 years of experience; Travis has 27.

About $800,000 to $1 million worth of products are shipped out daily, Travis said.

And Glenn Mosteller, a Boger City resident who went on Thursday’s tour, said he knows where some of them end up.

“I’ve just about got one of everything there is in here,” he said.