A new sister division of Akro-Plastics of Kent, Ohio, by late June expects to begin operating a rotational molding machine in a New Berlin, Pa., plant being shared with a fast-growing customer.
New Berlin Plastics will add two more rotomolding machines by November. Pennsylvania native Skip Jones was hired in April as general manager and assigned to establish the new division.
``Our customer has need for an amount of rotomolding and a time frame to move into a new facility,'' Jerry Ramsey said in a telephone interview. Ramsey owns Akron, Ohio-based U.S. Development Corp., the holding company for both divisions. ``By the end of 1998, we should have capacity of 21/2 times what we have now.''
New Berlin Plastics is setting up shop in an 88,000-square-foot plant that customer Playworld Systems Inc. built in 1994. Playworld outgrew the facility and nearby structures and, in late 1998, will vacate premises that New Berlin Plastics intends to acquire.
Playworld will consolidate manufacturing, warehousing and shipping functions in a 230,000-square-foot building under construction in nearby Lewisburg, Pa. An office structure will follow. Playworld makes commercial-grade playground equipment, mostly of polyethylene.
By year-end, New Berlin Plastics plans on a full staff of 47. Employees will be trained on the job through temporary assignments at Akro-Plastics and at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa. There is ``not a large rotomolding industry to draw from'' in the New Berlin area and so ``we must train from the ground up,'' Ramsey said.
Economic development officials in Lewisburg are loaning $150,000 toward the purchase of New Berlin Plastics' initial rotomolder, a $350,000 unit from Ferry Industries.
Akro-Plastics has molded parts for Playworld since 1993 and will remain a custom rotational molder of containment vaults, bin liners, mailboxes, speaker housings and other components.
Akro-Plastics began operations in 1987, employs 30-35 and occupies 50,000 square feet for manufacturing and 135,000 square feet for warehousing. Akro-Plastics operates two rotomolding machines. No Akro-Plastics employees will move to New Berlin.
Akro-Plastics ranked 74th in Plastics News' 1997 survey of North American rotomolders, with sales of $2.5 million.