The Catawba EDC works to build a diversified economic base for Catawba County.

Advanced Manufacturing

Manufacturing has a long and rich history in Catawba County. Even today, over 28% of Catawba County’s working population is engaged in manufacturing. That’s more than three times the national average of 9%. There are over 425 manufacturers in Catawba County employing more than 25,000 workers.

It’s true that the face of the manufacturing sector in Catawba County has seen a lot of change. Though the textile mills that once lined the region’s rivers are gone, in their place are advanced manufacturing facilities producing high value products like automotive components, fiber optic cable, and custom handcrafted furniture.

Catawba Valley Community College's Manufacturing Solutions Center is a non-profit organization located in Conover, North Carolina. The center strives to improve quality and efficiency, develop new products and create/retain jobs. The multi-faceted center offers several different services including standardized testing, product development, training (hosiery, software, industrial, etc), engineering, and many more.

View our Advanced Manufacturing Brochure to learn more about Catawba County's manufacturing specialization.

A local manufacturing employee works with robotics equipment at Turbocoating.



Two of Catawba County's largest employers also happen to be two of the world's largest producers of fiber optic cables. Supporting these industry giants—CommScope and Corning Optical Communications, along with Prysmian—are a number of smaller suppliers that combine to create one of the most impressive clusters of fiber companies in the world.

Founded in 1976, CommScope has a history that reaches back decades earlier by virtue of its origin as a product line within Superior Cable Corporation.


Advanced Textiles

Textiles have a long history in Catawba County.  Like many areas, Catawba's early industrial economy was largely made up of textile mills.  The Catawba River provided a readily available, abundant water supply and many textile products were manufactured in Catawba County beginning with yarn and including sock, hosiery, and bedding.  In the early part of the century, many of these textile factories moved their operations out of the country.  With companies producing both wovens and nonwovens for a variety of applications, the textile industry still thrives in Catawba County.  Read this case study about textile manufacturing in Catawba County.  Also, please view our Advanced Textiles Fact Sheet to learn more.

Carolina Nonwovens opened their new facility in Maiden in 2016.


Data Centers

With such an impressive collection of fiber companies, it should be no surprise that Catawba County and the surrounding area is also home to some of the world's largest and most sophisticated data centers. A targeted recruitment effort started by the Catawba EDC to establish the NC Data Center Corridor has brought jaw-dropping investments by companies like Apple and Bed Bath & Beyond to Catawba County and companies like Google and Facebook to other counties in the Corridor.  These companies are able take advantage of the reliable, low-cost energy and abundant water found in the region.

With their understanding of the industry's needed and wants, the Catawba County EDC and area partners have worked to prepare a number of sites and buildings, such as the ncDataCampus, suitable for additional data centers. To learn more, visit 


International Firms

While not technically an industry cluster, the significant presence of international firms in Catawba County makes it worth highlighting. International firms remain a fitting target for Catawba County and the EDC works closely with representatives in Europe to uncover companies who may be seeking, or could benefit from, a new US location. At last count there were over 30 internationally owned firms in the area, the vast majority of which are engaged in manufacturing.   Some of these companies include Klingspor Abrasives (Germany), Punker (Germany), Turbocoating (Italy), Sarstedt (Germany), Technibilt (Germany), ZF Chassis Components (Germany), Smart Electric (Taiwan), GKN (United Kingdom), CertainTeed (France), Prysmian (Italy), Poppelman Plastics (Germany) and Taiji Group USA (China).  

Foreign Language Resources
Über die Catawba EDC A Proposito di Catawba EDC Sobre Catawba EDC
German Language Page
German Language Flyer
Italian Language Page
Italian Language Flyer
Spanish Language Page
Spanish Language Flyer

Klingspor Abrasives, headquartered in Haiger, Germany, established their US headquarters and manufacturing facility in Hickory in 1979.


Foreign Owned Firms in Catawba County - 2018
Company Parent Company Product
BSN Medical BSN Medical GmbH Dist. orthopedic devices
Benz, Inc. Benz GmbH Metal & wood tooling
Heico Fasteners Heimann Corp. Fasteners for furniture
Klingspor Abrasives Klingspor GmbH Coated & bonded abrasives
Poppelmann Plastics Poppelmann GmbH Plastic agri. containers
Punker, USA Punker GmbH Fan wheels
Sarstedt, Inc. Sarstedt AG & Co Medical supplies & devices
Technibilt Wanzl Shopping & grocery Carts
Tigra USA Tigra GmbH Tungsten carbide tools
ZF  ZF Friedrichschafen AG Auto. chassis components
United Kingdom
Canteen Vending Compass Group Onsite food/bev. vending
GKN Driveline GKN Automotive gears
GKN Sinter Metals GKN Powdered metals
Sandler Seating, Inc. Sandler Seating Ltd. Furniture warehousing
Unigel USA LLC Unigel, Ltd. Fiber optic cable
Unitape USA LLC Unitape, Ltd. Fiber optic cable
Volex Interconnect Systems Volex Group Electrical Equipment
IdeaItalia Ideaitalia Furniture
Friulmac Inc. Friulmac SpA Woodworking Machinery
Minelli, USA Minelli Group, SpA Wood products
Prysmian Group/Draka Prysmian SpA Fiber optic cable
Turbocoating USA Turbocoating SpA Coatings for turbine blades
Axjo America, Inc. Axjo Plastic AB Plastic cable spools
Camfil Farr Inc. Camfil AB Air filters
Windak, Inc. Windak AB Assemble spool systems 
Deetag USA Inc. Deetag, Ltd Fluid power & connectors
Special Metals Welding Special Metals Welding Welding equipment
Aqua Plastics Aquaplastica
(Dominican Republic)
Plastics recycling 
ArcelorMittal ArcelorMittal
Steel plates 
Cemex  Cemex SAB de CV
Concrete blocks 
CertainTeed Saint-Gobain, SA
Vinyl Siding
Joulin North America Joulin Vacuum Handling Machinery
Rosendahl Nextrom USA
Knill Gruppe
Sales & service
Ricoh Ricoh Co Ltd Office Equipment
Smart Electric, NA Smart Electric Works
Distributes lighting & electrical
US Conec, Ltd. Corning/NTT/Fujikura
Fiber optic mfg equipment
Wuxi Taiji Paper Industry The Taiji Group
Spiral-wound cardboard cores