DP Manufactured Products Inc. has invested $1.5 million to set up injection molding operations in Grantsville, W.Va. Equipped with two Hettinga low-pressure injection presses, DP is custom molding polypropylene bumper guards, side moldings, speaker housings and other auto parts for Big Three supplier Stolle Products, a Sidney, Ohio, division of American Trim LLC.
Since opening shop in June, DP has created 50 jobs in Calhoun County, somewhat lessening that county's sky-high unemployment rate, said Dick Bruerton, DP president and co-owner.
Jim Mosby, manager of business expansion for West Virginia's Industrial Development office, said Calhoun County is a rural region without much industry. In the past year, the county's unemployment rate has risen as high as 25 percent. Grantsville, with a population of about 700, is the county seat.
``To get a manufacturing job, most people in that county have to commute anywhere from 30-50 miles or more,'' Mosby said.
Bruerton said he sited DP in Grantsville to fulfill a promise to his wife, who hails from the area. The state helped finance DP's loan to renovate the building and buy equipment, and will subsidize worker training with a $25,000, three-year grant.
``We figure we'll be up over 100 [workers] at the end of the first year,'' he said.
Though so far Stolle is DP's only customer, it has other projects in the works, Bruerton said. He would not disclose details, except to say DP also uses the Hettinga presses to develop a product made from automotive waste fibers. He projects first-year sales at about $2.5 million.
DP bought the low-pressure presses from Stolle in May, when that company decided to exit plastics manufacturing, said Mike Powers, Stolle's operations manager for automotive. In January, Stolle - formerly a division of Pittsburgh-based Aluminum Co. of America - became part of American Trim, a joint venture between Alcoa and Superior Metal Products Inc. of Lima, Ohio. Its only other plastics equipment, two foam molding machines used to make polyurethane foam front and rear bumpers, were routed to Alcoa Automotive Structures in North Woods, Ohio, Powers said. Stolle's primary business is metal stamping.
Bruerton's partner and DP's chief executive is Peter Zannoni.