Fastex Industrial, a nonautomotive plastic components division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., is expanding production and moving into a new, 37,000-square-foot injection molding plant in Seaham, England. The plant replaces a 14,000-square-foot facility in Basingstoke, England.
"We were bursting at the seams at the Basingstoke plant. We were having to subcontract molding to keep up with the increasing demand — something we were not wanting to do," said General Manager Gary Chesterton.
The company is taking advantage of the extra space by increasing molding capacity. It added five new all-electric Mitsui Fanuc presses with clamping forces of 16-330 tons, Chesterton said. The company invested about 200,000 ($322,000) in the machines, which can handle higher-specification products.
Fastex is part of ITW, a publicly held automotive and industrial components manufacturer based in Glenview, Ill. ITW first came to Basingstoke about 30 years ago, when the southern English town was a light industrial growth center.
But the new plant is farther north, in an enterprise zone in England's Durham County that offered development grants, a tax break and an attractive labor force, Chesterton said. He added that the new facility is closer to some customers.
Fastex moved 12 presses from the old plant, primarily Negri Bossi models with 33-330 tons of clamping force. The plant will be in full production by the end of February.
Five employees were transferred from the Basingstoke plant. The Seaham facility employs a total of 45.
Fastex customers include appliance manufacturer Hotpoint and computer maker IBM. The ITW unit molds a range of security seals, fasteners and other components for washing machines, computers, power tools and other items.