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Sportech adding machinery to keep up with demand

By: Frank Antosiewicz

February 26, 2014

Sportech Inc. is adding machinery and taking steps to add an innovation center to meet growing demand, according to its CEO Chris Carlson.

The Elk River, Minn., company is adding a Maac 3-station rotary thermoforming machine along with another robotic trimmer this year, said Carlson during a telephone interview. He said that work has been steadily increasing and that the company is responding by continually adding new equipment.

Sportech, which has seen its thermoforming sales jump from $42 million to $61 million in the past year, supplies cab components, both interior and exterior, to original equipment makers of power sport vehicles like snowmobiles, all- terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other transportation vehicles.

"Working with OEMs [in] power sports, we always try to encourage the customer to visit, so we are creating a space where their engineers and project managers can come to work with our engineers and do some of the development in house," Carlson said.

He said Sportech has been planning an innovation center that will be between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet, including offices and R&D space.

"When we built an addition in 2008, we doubled the size of our mezzanine and by golly, we need to use it now," he said.

The company operates out of two facilities in Elk River that are a few blocks apart. One is 96,000 square feet and the other is 50,000 square feet. It does vacuum forming as well as drape forming.

Carlson said the company has seen solid growth every year. In addition to power sports, the company has customers in the agriculture, transportation and construction sectors.

Sportech operates eight machine lines and has 190 employees.­ The company was listed 28th in Plastics News' thermoforming rankings.