DETROIT — Decatur Plastic Products Inc. has broadened its operations by opening a new plant devoted to a specialized process and launching a new product area.
The company opened a 5,000-square-foot flocking plant in February near its molding operations based in North Vernon, Ind., said Decatur sales manager Jack Apsley, a company owner.
Flocking, a specialized process for automotive products, involves shooting extruded strands of nylon and polyethylene onto interior-trim parts covered with adhesive. The flocked parts create a softer feel for such components as cup holders or rear consoles.
The company invested about $150,000 in the new facility, Apsley said. Decatur will perform flocking on its own parts and those of outside molders, he added.
``We were looking for a niche market,'' Apsley said June 9 during the Automotive & Transportation Interiors Expo in Detroit. ``We had a situation where our customers were growing more interested in flocking. And few others were doing it.''
Decatur produces a variety of interior-trim parts for Tier 1 suppliers, including Lear Corp., Johnson Controls Inc. and Textron Automotive Co. Inc.
The company also molds parts in the medical field. In May, Decatur entered a new product area, thermoformed plastic hospital trays, after buying assembly equipment from medical-parts producer Seco Systems Inc. of Washington, Mo., and its Therma Systems Inc. subsidiary. Terms were not disclosed.
Decatur will integrate the assembly and foaming operations into its North Vernon plant, Apsley said. The company also makes cups and mugs for the hospital market.
The company recorded sales of about $8 million last year. Decatur operates 21 presses, with clamping forces of 22-1,000 tons, at its North Vernon plant.