TORONTO - Tooling Technology Centre Inc. plans to enter injection and compression molding and painting at a new facility in Benton Harbor, Mich. The Windsor, Ontario, firm expects to be a ``full-service supplier'' in early 1997 when its first U.S. plant starts production, according to Gary Jackson, vice president of finance and corporate development. It now has several facilities in Windsor for design, tool building and sample and short production runs.
Jackson said in a telephone interview that Tooling Technolo-gy plans to spend about US$15 million on land, construction and equipment for the Benton Harbor facility. It will be built in phases and cover about 70,000 square feet after two years. He remains undecided on equipment details, but said the company would like to build some of its own machinery.
Tooling Technology's molding and painting operation will focus on appliance, toys and truck and van conversion parts markets, and the automotive aftermarket, Jackson said. It already designs and builds molds for customers in some of these industries, but automotive original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers are its largest design and tool-building customer base.
Jackson said his firm had sales last year of C$35 million (US$25.6 million) to C$40 million (US$29.2 million).
Jackson said Tooling Technol-ogy chose Benton Harbor partly because the area offers tax breaks to qualified companies. Benton Harbor is a state-designated en-terprise zone providing exemption from the state's sales and use taxes, and reduction of about 65 percent in real and personal property taxes.
Tooling Technology will apply for enterprise-zone benefits and various industrial permits. The project also is contingent on it securing financing.
Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan also is near the heart of the van and truck conversion industry, Jackson said.
Tooling Technology is a private company owned by its founder, Paul Boucher.
It planned to go public in Canada in 1994 but withdrew the offer because of poor stock market conditions, Jackson ex-plained. It eventually plans to go back to the stock market but the company is too busy with expansion to do it now, he said.