Shelter Components Corp. plans to expand space and capacity at its two thermoforming operations to keep up with growth in housing and recreational vehicle markets. The Elkhart, Ind., firm said it also may set up another thermoforming facility in the southeast United States, according to Rich-ard Clark, president of Shelter subsidiary Duo-Form of Michigan Inc. in Edwardsburg, Mich.
Clark said Duo-Form and its Better Bath Components Inc. division added two thermoforming lines last year to bring their total to 16. He expects to add more capacity at Edwardsburg and Better Bath's Waxahachie, Texas, plant within a year and a half but did not provide details.
Duo-Form and Better Bath had total sales of $36 million last year, up from $30 million in 1994. Clark predicts the two will reach combined sales of $40 million this year. Better Bath makes ABS bath tubs, whirlpool baths and similar products for pre-manufactured housing, a market Clark predicts will grow 10-12 percent in 1996. Better Bath focuses on related products for recreational vehicles but plans to expand its product line. RV sales growth could be as high as 5 percent this year, he estimated.
The two operations used about 20 million pounds of purchased ABS sheet last year, mainly sourced from Spartech Plastics based in Clayton, Mo. They employ about 265.
Clark said pre-manufactured housing tends to grow well when conventional housing slumps, as consumers flock to lower-cost alternatives. Municipalities have changed zoning laws to allow more such housing. Consumers also are attracted by proliferating options in pre-manufactured housing, which can range from basic models to luxury versions, Clark said.
Shelter Components is a public company with annual sales of about $450 million. It manufactures wallboard, carpet, hardware, tools and other building materials, and distributes these kinds of products across the United States. Clark said it also distributes most of Duo-Form's and Better Bath's products.