CHICAGO — Although still in its infancy, Image Rotomolding LLC has begun an expansion that will double its size and add as many as six rotomolding machines to its existing plant.
The Brainerd, Minn., rotomolder, which was founded in September 1995, needs the additional space to support its growth, sales manager Larry Paulson, said at the International Marine Trades Exhibit and Conference, held Sept. 25-28 in Chicago. The company makes a diverse array of proprietary products for the marine, construction and recreation industries.
The expansion will add another 40,000 square feet to the company's Brainerd plant, nearly doubling that facility's size. About half of the addition, which is scheduled to open in May, will house warehouse and assembly. The rest will be used for rotomolding and will include a small mold fabricating, maintenance and repair shop.
The plant has the capacity for as many as six more two-arm, carousel rotomolding machines with a 210-inch swing, Paulson said. The number of machines to be added will depend on business growth, he said.
The expansion, expected to total about $500,000 in building costs, also will allow Image to assemble final products for customers, he said. The company, which has 40 employees, plans to add between eight and 30 people when the work is completed.
Image also has made a change in direction, he said. New chief operating officer James Petrenko joined the company in September after serving in an operations capacity with Illinois Tool Works Inc. in Glenview, Ill. Petrenko will head the company, which is owned by Chairman James Wills.
Former company President Gene Doyle left Image in August 1996, and Wills had been running daily operations, said Paulson, who formerly was president of Pawnee Rotational Molding Co., based in Maple Plain, Minn.
``We've redefined our strategic position,'' he said. ``Rather than just filling orders, we plan to be more proactive at targeting customers and focusing on going after business in specific markets.''
As part of that strategy, the firm introduced its new Whitecap series of kayaks Sept. 25 at Imtec in Chicago. The kayaks are rotational molded in linear low density polyethylene and feature custom, in-mold colors.
Paulson would not disclose the company's sales or machinery information, but Plastics News reported last year that the firm did roughly $1.5 million in annual sales. As of August 1996, Image had acquired two, two-arm rotational presses with a 120-inch swing.