Rotational molder Elkhart Plastics expanding

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 28, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Rotomolding

SOUTH BEND, IND. (Nov. 28, 3:55 p.m. ET) — Custom rotational molder Elkhart Plastics Inc. is adding a 25,000-square-foot expansion and plans to add 50 new jobs over the next three years at its headquarters in South Bend.

CEO Jack Welter said the company initially plans to hire about 20 people, and buy two rotomolding machines, for the addition. That will bring Elkhart Plastics’ total square footage to more than 100,000 in South Bend. Site preparation has already begun, and the expansion should be completed by end of the first quarter of 2013.

Welter said the company is spending $1.75 million for the building, two machines and to hire the 20 employees. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. reports the total investment at $3.8 million, but Welter said that figure includes additional machines and another 30 workers, which will be added over the next three years.

Welter said part of the expansion is to handle a large contract for emissions systems for diesel-powered heavy equipment, such as tractors, construction equipment, and semi trucks. The focus on reducing emissions has led to an increased for rotomolded components, he said. He declined to give more details.

Meanwhile, company officials have brought back the well-known Elkhart Plastics name for the entire company, scrapping the former moniker of Indiana Rotomolding. In early 2011, Welter and a group of fellow managers bought five custom rotomolding plants from Olympus Partners, a private equity firm. The plants were Elkhart Plastics and Bonar Plastics operations.

Welter is an Elkhart Plastics veteran who became president in 1994.

Elkhart Plastics is the eighth-largest rotomolder in North America, with sales of $61.5 million, according to the latest Plastics News ranking. The company runs 41 rotomolding machines at five plants, three in Indiana—South Bend, Elkhart and Middlebury—and one each in Littleton, Colo., and Ridgefield, Wash.

Elkhart Plastics is getting government help for the expansion in South Bend. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will give the company up to $250,000 on conditional tax credits and up to $35,000 in training grants, contingent on job creation.

The city of South Bend also is considering additional property tax abatement, IEDC said.

Welter said the training grants are important to help find and train people in rotomolding. He said finding good workers is “the only limiting factor to our aggressive growth plan.”

Rotational molding is physical work, and the machine operators play an important role in producing quality products, Welter said.

“You can train somebody. It really comes down to finding people who want to put in a good day’s work for a good day’s pay,” he said. “We’re certainly willing to train people who are willing to commit to us.”

Elkhart Plastics employs about 500 at the five plants.

Elkhart Plastics was founded in 1988 with one machine molding parts for Indiana’s recreational vehicle industry. Welter said the Hoosier State has good proximity to customers.

“We place a great deal of value in our relationship with the city of South Bend and the state of Indiana and appreciate the effort that went into allowing us to expand,” he said.


Comments

Rotational molder Elkhart Plastics expanding

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: November 28, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Automakers look under the hood for the next lightweighting opportunities

August 20, 2014 1:06 pm ET

The automotive industry's current favorite target for lightweighting efforts is the powertrain, according to a recent survey.    More

Image

Cooper-Standard JV to focus on Asia

August 20, 2014 10:17 am ET

Cooper Standard Automotive Inc. is forming Cooper Standard Inoac Pte. Ltd. — a joint venture with Inoac Corp. of Japan — to expand the...    More

Image

Ohio molder sold to private equity firm

August 19, 2014 5:23 pm ET

Private equity firm TVV Capital of Nashville has acquired injection molder Design Molded Plastics Inc. for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

Germany's Bolta building $50 million plating plant in Alabama

August 19, 2014 2:21 pm ET

A German company is setting up a plastics chrome plating plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.    More

Image

RTP expands very long fiber thermoplastic production to Mexico

August 19, 2014 9:47 am ET

RTP Co. has introduced very long fiber reinforced compounds at its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events