ORLANDO, FLA. (April 2, 8:30 p.m. ET) — Entek International is undergoing a 77,000 square foot expansion to its battery separator production plant in Lebanon, Ore. The project will expand the plant’s physical footprint to 216,000 square feet.
The expansion is being fully managed by Entek Extruders (Booth 4691), which is supplying a new continuous operation production line that will be operational by January 2013. The line includes an Entek 133 mm twin-screw extruder with all related downstream equipment. The expansion will accommodate two extrusion lines, officials said during an April 2 interview at NPE.
The battery separation plant produces RhinoHide PE battery separators for starting, lighting and ignition lead-acid batteries. The separators are used in automobile, bus, tractor, and motorcycles.
“Their main customer is pushing them to supply more product on a long-term basis,” said John Effmann, director of sales and marketing. “They had to increase the capacity to keep up with their demands.”
For Entek Extruders, though, it represents a different way of doing business. Now, Entek is focused on providing entire project management and not just the extrusion line itself. Officials struggled with differentiating the company and its products in a world where an extruder can be viewed as just, well, an extruder. For Entek International and other customers, Entek Extruders is providing 100 percent project management including design and construction.
“We literally engineer everything that goes into that plant,” Effmann said. This expansion is front and center now for the company, but Entek is taking the turnkey philosophy to its other customers. Officials wouldn’t disclose the names of other customers involved in expansions but said there are several projects in process.
What Entek officials saw as a result of the Great Recession is that when companies downsized they lost their resources.
“We’re willing to take on larger projects,” Effmann said. “We’re taking on project management.”
Entek International will add up to 20 jobs; Entek Extruders will add at least 30 new jobs.
Officials would not disclose the investment amount. Newly named President Kirk Hanawalt said that where a lot of companies had to cut back on engineering staff, Entek did not. Its machine shop now is operating with four shifts, 24/7.
“We think we’re positioned well,” Hanawalt said. As the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. President and CEO Bill Carteaux announced the United States GDP was 2.8 percent, Hanawalt said that Entek’s client base has been growing greater than that.
Hanawalt has served as vice president and chief operating officer since 2006. Larry Keith, who used to be president, has become chief executive officer.
During NPE, Entek is showcasing two twin-screw extruders. Its 27mm model is for laboratory applications and small lot compounding. Its 103mm model is for large-scale production of biopolymers. The 103mm model will go into use for DaniMer Scientific of Bainbridge, Ga., for producing high volumes of renewable hot melt adhesives.