DETROIT - Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing Inc. is expanding operations to accommodate new contracts for its air bag and steering wheel products. The project represents an investment of more than $8 million.
Neaton is adding 145,000 square feet,
boosting its total to 368,000 square feet, at its headquarters and plant in Eaton, Ohio. The company broke ground for the new space late last year and expects to finish the project by September.
Neaton, a unit of Nihon Plast of FujiCity, Japan, is projecting sales of about $100 million this year, up from $91 million in 1994.
``The automotive market is in a growth mode, so that's good for suppliers, not just the automakers,'' said Kim Willetts, senior manager of research and development, engineering and design.
Willetts was interviewed at the 1995 SAE International Congress and Exposition, held Feb. 27-March 2 in Detroit, and by telephone.
The new space will be used to expand manufacturing capacity and to store and ship parts. Neaton is adding five new Toshiba injection presses with clamping forces of 500-1,750 tons. With the new machines, the company will have 45 injection molding machines.
Neaton is expanding its molding operation to make painted air bag covers for Nissan Motor Corp., fender liners for Honda Motor Co. and various other products. It also is preparing new technology for the manufacture of urethane foam steering wheels.
Willetts said Neaton is building a fully automated paint line for the air bag covers. He said the covers use a special thermoplastic olefin that can withstand temperatures as low as minus 40§ F without fragmenting.
Neaton, with more than 500 employees, makes a variety of interior and exterior plastic trim products for the automotive industry.
Besides injection molding, the company also does reaction injection molding, blow molding and vacuum forming.