Thermoform Plastics Inc. is investing $7 million in a new facility in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
``We're in 35,000 square feet right now,'' said Jimmy Peterson, Gastonia, N.C., plant manager. ``It is much too small for our needs. We can't add machinery. We are moving to take care of our customers' needs.''
By the end of May, the firm plans to be fully operational at a facility nine miles away in Belmont, N.C. Phase one involved building the 100,000-square-foot plant, which sits on 22 acres. Thermoform Plastics can increase the size of the building to 350,000 square feet, said Dan Sweet, vice president of manufacturing.
The three thermoforming machines at the current plant will move to Belmont. In addition, the company has purchased two new Brown thermoformers, including one that officials call the world's largest four-station rotary machine, a 10-foot-by-22-foot unit. The other new machine — a 7-foot-by-11-foot, three-station model — is in place.
The company is in the process of receiving its ISO 9002 and QS9000 certifications.
All 100 employees will transfer to the new plant and as demand increases, equipment and employees will be added.
The company thermoforms ABS, polystyrene, polyethylene, acrylic, polypropylene and PVC. The North Carolina location mainly serves the automotive and industrial truck industries.
Thermoform Plastics ranked 17th in Plastics News' survey of North American thermoformers, with sales of $52.6 million. The St. Paul, Minn.-based company employs more than 425 and has plants in St. Paul; Cleveland; Little Hocking, Ohio; and Gastonia.
As of Feb. 1, Thermoform Plastics' president is Jim Schwarz, former president of Viking Formed Products of Elkhart, Ind. Former Thermoform Plastics' President Curtis Zamec now is president of the company's parent, Wilbert Inc. in Chicago.