Morristown company to increase testing capabilities and capacity with new facility

Tuff Torq Corp. broke ground Wednesday on a new testing facility. From left to right, Brandon Massengill, Clay Hicks, Rigoberto Cervantes, Keith Andrews, Naoki Yamakaji, Jack Fishman, Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney, Bob Carroll and Marshall Ramsey.

Tuff Torq Corp. broke ground Wednesday on a new testing facility as part of on an ongoing expansion the company hopes will continue.

“We are increasing our testing capabilities and capacity,” Naoki Yamakaji, president of Tuff Torq, said.

Yamakaji said the testing facility will be completed by summer 2021. The building will be 16,000 square feet or 120 feet by 135 feet.

Expansion is still not done, Yamakaji said.

“The next step will be that we will expand our factory,” he said. “We continue to grow.”

Tuff Torq was established in 1989 in Morristown to produce hydrostatic drive system products in the U.S. market. Tuff Torq is the global leaders in producing transmissions and drive systems for lawn tractors and riding mowers.

It has also expanded greatly since first opening its doors 31 years ago.

Keith Andrews, vice president of product development, said several people at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday were also at the first groundbreaking.

Andrews said as the product portfolio increases, the need for testing also increases.

A few years ago the city of Morristown and the Hamblen County Industrial Board made the land available to Tuff Torq where the facility is being built. Andrews said at first the company built a test track on the site.

It is time to expand even further, he said.

“We’re making good use of the land you gave us, and we appreciate that,” Andrews said.

He said the hope is that the facility will fit the needs of the company for the next 10 years.

Every 10 years, the company has had to do some type of expansion on testing because of the company’s growth, Andrews said. He expects that to happen again.

“We did design the capability to expand easily,” he said. “We expect at some point of time we will fill it up and have to expand and we look forward to continue to grow.”

It’s a “win-win” for the plant because the manufacturing side will be able to expand also as the product development moves into its own building, Andrews said.

Andrews said the company has come a long way from when it opened the plant.

“We’ve gone from 29 people, and we’re over 500 now,” he said.