Despite recent financial woes, Collins & Aikman Plastics Inc. has begun a major expansion program to increase capacity and improve technology at its existing facilities.
The expansion includes the addition of a 35,000-square-foot injection molding facility in Mississauga, Ontario, that opened at the beginning of the year. The plant is making heating and air conditioning outlets, bezels and other parts for Big Three carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers. C&A Plastics is the injection molding subsidiary of Charlotte, N.C.-based Collins & Aikman Corp.
The plant, which has more than 150 employees, added about 35 injection presses with clamping forces of 100-750 tons, said C&A Plastics President D. Michael Weston. With new product launches expected, the plant will continue to expand, he said.
On the heels of that expansion, C&A Plastics is also adding presses and new technology to its flagship plant in Manchester, Mich., Weston said. The plant has just started to do slush molding and will use polyurethane foam-in-place technology to cast skins for instrument panels on a model year 2000 Cadillac from General Motors Corp., he said.
The soft-touch instrument panel will replace harder-surface panels, which are typically molded from a polycarbonate/ABS blend, Weston said. The new panel will start production in 1999, he said.
The Manchester plant will make a substantial capital investment to add injection and slush molding, design capabilities and foaming equipment. Included are at least 10 large-tonnage presses ranging from 2,500-3,000 tons.
The plant's instrument panels will be assembled at Detroit-based minority-owned suppier Mexican Industries.
C&A Plastics also is building a major design and engineering center at its 150,000-square-foot Scarborough, Ontario, plant, Weston said. The plant, which produces interior air-conditioning components, will provide air-flow analysis to customers and offer testing capabilities.
The firm did not disclose the total capital invested in its plants.