ROSEMONT, ILL. - You can add the plastics industry to the list of Virginia lovers. At least that was one of the messages the state, Virginia Power and Comdial Corp. gave visitors at Plastics Fair Chicago, held June 11-13 in Rosemont.
Comdial, a designer and producer of telephone system products, claims to operate one of the larger injection molding facilities on the East Coast at its Custom Manufacturing Division in Vir-ginia. The molding operation accounts for about one-fifth of Comdial's 500,000-square-foot Charlottesville facility, according to the division's general manager, Edward Smeriglio. It employs 60 and contributed $7 million of Comdial's 1995 sales of $95 million. The unit encompasses 48 molding machines, ranging from a 35-ton Arburg L.I.M. to a 500-ton Stokes injection press.
The company, whose custom manufacturing capabilities in-clude silk screening, pad printing and ultrasonic welding, also offers turnkey procurement for components, according to the company's principal engineer for manufacturing and sales, Thomas Hasenauer.
Comdial, founded in 1977, has a total employment of 850.
``We're the second-largest Virginia Power customer in Charlottesville - behind [Uni-versity of Virginia],'' Smeriglio said.
Richmond-based Virginia Pow-er wants to retain and attract more customers like Comdial, a desire that deregulation of the electric power industry is turning into a pressing need.
``We've got to be ready to sell power to anybody,'' said Thomas Hogg, the power company's economic development director.
He said the utility began identifying key existing businesses in the state several years ago. It spent six months researching the plastics industry and shared what it discovered with the Depart-ment of Economic Development and other ``allies,'' Hogg said.
``We decided to focus on the plastics industry [as] a source of revenue and its quality of power needs,'' Hogg said.
Part of that focus is a presentation the utility is going to put on for Virginia molders involving effective cost-management of peak and off-peak power use. Another is promoting its rates to the industry.
``Our average industrial rate is 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour,'' Hogg said. ``The national average is 5.5 cents.''
Like other power companies, Virginia Power works with state economic development officials to market itself. In partnership with Comdial and the state, it also is encouraging the plastics industry in Virginia to form a ``working network'' to help the state recruit other plastics companies.
The state's Department of Economic Development, which becomes known as the Virginia Economic Development Partner-ship on July 1, when it evolves to a quasi-private organization, is looking globally for projects to pull to the state.
``We're trying to expose Virginia as a good place for the plastics industry,'' said Keith Norden, national project manager for the department, citing market access, power costs, transportation and the state's pro-business climate.
The agency, Virginia Power and Comdial all recently have shared contact with one international prospect, an unnamed Australian company that is a potential customer for both the utility and Comdial's injection molding services if it locates in Virginia.
Thus far, the partnership has not produced new molding business for Comdial. ``But,'' Smeriglio said, ``we've got a couple of leads.''
See our complete coverage of Plastics Fair Chicago on the Internet:http://www.plasticsnews.com