Solo Inc. is spending $2 million to add injection molding to its plastics processing lineup. The Newport News, Va., firm, a subsidiary of Sindelfingen, Germany-based Solo Klein-motoren, completed a 33,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility this month.
Solo, a manufacturer of backpack and compression sprayers, will begin production in the new facility in June. Although the firm blow molds the containers, the additional room soon will allow it to add injection molding.
The $2 million project increased the facility to 55,000 square feet. The $2 million includes the cost of the building, molds, machines and assembly lines. The plant runs three blow molding machines making the high density polyethylene containers.
Molding machines, subassembly and final assembly operations for production of 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-gallon sprayers are housed in the plant. Solo also added an overhead crane system for rapid mold changes.
President Jim Dunne said he expects to hire 12 new people soon and a total of 25 more within a year. The plant currently employs 60.
``Our sales have increased tremendously,'' Dunne said. ``We're working seven days a week, 24 hours a day.''
Solo expanded not only because of increased sales, but also to provide room to add injection molding.
``We'll injection mold the small parts on the sprayers. There are some 57 injection molded parts that had been molded at our parent company. But now we're bringing it to the U.S.,'' Dunne said.
Within a month, Solo will add five injection molding machines with clamping forces of 85-300 tons to its Virginia plant. Dunne said the parts are made from many materials such as nylon and glass-filled plastics.
Solo serves professional and consumer businesses.
``Our traditional customers are agricultural, feed and seed farmers, nursery and forestry markets,'' said Dunne. ``However, in 1991 we began selling to home centers like Lowe's, Home Depot, True Value and Ace.''
Solo Kleinmotoren manufactures sprayers, string trimmers, chain saws, lawn mowers and other products.