A lack of elbow room has led M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland to announce it will close its thermoplastic elastomer production plant in North Ridgeville, Ohio, on March 31.
Although TPEs are a growing business for Hanna's Engineered Materials division, the North Ridgeville site, which employs 32, is not suitable for expansion, officials said.
``Capacity is available at other M.A. Hanna manufacturing plants that do allow for future expansion and for more cost-effective production as part of a larger facility,'' Douglas Schrank, senior vice president of operations, said in a Dec. 17 news release.
``This closure is no reflection on the performance of our North Ridgeville associates,'' Schrank added. ``We appreciate the work they have done for us.''
Hanna officials said two of the site's three extrusion lines would be transferred to a Hanna compounding plant in Houston. The third line could end up in Houston or other compounding plants in Bethlehem, Pa., or Dyersburg, Tenn.
Equipment from a $750,000 product development lab built at the site three years ago was moved to Hanna's technology center in Norcross, Ga., earlier this year. Several research employees also transferred from North Ridgeville to Norcross at that time.
Hanna's TPE business has exceeded the 7 percent growth rate the TPE industry has enjoyed in recent years, according to a company official.
The closure is part of a realignment among the company's U.S. plastic compounding plants to optimize production and increase efficiency, according to the firm.
The employees affected by the closing will be considered for jobs at other Hanna facilities in Cleveland and other areas. Hanna will buy out the final year of its lease on the 25,000-square-foot facility.
Hanna bought the North Ridgeville business, formerly known as North Coast Compounders Inc., in 1994. The product development lab built that same year included an injection molding machine, an extruder and a small blown film line.
The site reported sales of about $4.5 million in 1992, the last year such figures were disclosed. The TPE portfolio includes thermoplastic polyurethanes, vulcanizates and olefins.
Hanna, which also operates colorant and resin distribution businesses, has acquired 23 businesses since 1986.