The Sherman Economic Development Corp. approved nearly $226,000 of incentives Tuesday afternoon for four projects related to automation and other improvements at Eaton’s Sherman production plant. The four projects, which include new robotics and related training, represent a nearly $4.13 million investment in the Sherman facility.

SEDCO President Kent Sharp said the improvements represented a commitment and interest in the Sherman facility while some companies are retiring or finding secondary uses for older facilities.

“Plants are being automated or plants are not getting invested in,” Sharp said. “Those ultimately it is those plants that will become big warehouses.”

Sharp said the agreement is a compilation of multiple requests and projects that were presented to the SEDCO board in one proposal rather than four separate agreements.

The first phase of the project is valued at about $326,000 and will include a new palletizing robot and autolabeler and Fanuc robot training for maintenance. The second phase will include tooling and installation work along with ABB robot training with an estimated cost of about $204,000.

The final two phases will make up the majority of the project cost with phase three comprised of enclosure fabrication capacity and throughput improvements valued at $2 million. The final phase includes cable tray capacity improvements valued at $1.6 million.

The agreement gives Eaton until the end of 2020 to complete the projects in order to receive the incentives. If Eaton determines that any of the phases will not be complete, SEDCO reserves the right to amend the terms of the incentives.

Sharp said the incentives, and the project they support, are a positive for the city of Sherman as it represents a company that is committed to continued business and employment in the city.

“If they are spending these kinds of dollars on their factory, they are not going to do that unless they expect that factory will stay there for a while,” he said.

This is the second incentive agreement between Eaton and SEDCO following a $25,000 agreement in 2017 for equipment and facility upgrades.