ATLANTIS EXPANDING ARK. MOLDING FACILITY

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Atlantis Plastic Injection Molding will boost its capacity at Fort Smith, Ark., as it rearranges its growing business with Whirlpool Corp., which has an assembly plant in Fort Smith.

Atlantis will move eight injection presses from its Henderson, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., plants, plus install a new one at Fort Smith by late summer. It also will hire 40 more employees there, where it now employs about 200. Atlantis spokesman Richard Hurwitz said his firm will close the Nashville molding operation by the end of June.

Whirlpool, one of Atlantis' major customers for molded parts, recently awarded Atlantis $6.2 million in additional business for 33 parts. Atlantis will mold them in Henderson for shipment to Whirlpool's Evansville, Ind., refrigerator assembly plant. Some of Henderson's other work for Whirlpool's Fort Smith plant is being relocated to Atlantis' Fort Smith operation, necessitating the expansion, Hurwitz explained.

Atlantis will expand its Henderson plant by 25,000 square feet to accommodate the new business, boosting total space to 115,000 square feet. It will begin hiring more staff in the third quarter when it starts fulfilling the new Whirlpool contracts, Hurwitz said in a telephone interview from his office in Atlanta. Presses relocated from Nashville will help handle Henderson's extra work load.

Atlantis will have four injection molding facilities after Nashville's closure. Its injection molding sales last year were about $62 million. Hurwitz said his firm's molding operations and its single profile extrusion operation had total sales of $89.3 million last year. Film and sheet accounted for the rest of Atlantis' total of $267.1 million sales in 1996.