Custom injection molder Triple S Plastics Inc. is closing its Tucson, Ariz., plant and, as announced in May, establishing a new location in Fort Worth, Texas.
End-user requirements drive both moves, Phillip Weaver, vice president of human resources, said in a telephone interview.
``We need to make sure we are supporting our customers,'' he said.
The late 1998 bankruptcy filing of McCulloch Corp. of Tucson took away about $10 million of business per year, Weaver said. The Tucson plant made plastics products for McCulloch string trimmers, leaf blowers and chain saws.
Also, the Tucson facility supplied parts to printer cartridge maker Nu-Kote Holding Inc. of Franklin, Tenn. Triple S is moving ongoing Nu-Kote work to its headquarters plant in Vicksburg, Mich. Nu-Kote is working its way through a bankruptcy petition.
Weaver said the Tucson facility employed 50 in recent months but once had 200 workers.
The plant opened in 1983 and currently has 20 injection molding presses of 55-500 tons, which Triple S will relocate over three or four months to plants in Texas and Michigan.
Triple S has a two-year lease on a 65,000-square-foot building in Fort Worth and expects to employ 80 there by Aug. 1.
``We will start with seven all-electric JSW presses of 85-200 tons,'' he said, including four new units and three being relocated from other Triple S sites, including a plant in Georgetown, Texas. ``Several customers in telecom and computer businesses are requesting capacity in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,'' Weaver said.
The Georgetown plant, north of Austin, opened in 1995 and ``is almost full,'' he said.
Nasdaq-traded Triple S expects to take a one-time, after-tax charge of $840,000 in its first quarter, which ends June 30. The charge reflects the cost of closing the Tucson plant and a former Victor Plastics facility in Vicksburg.
Triple S reported a loss of $1.05 million on sales of $67.8 million for the fiscal year ended March 31. In addition to custom injection molding, Triple S provides rapid-prototyping services, designs and makes molds and has assembly and finishing operations.