Therma-Tru Corp., a company that compression molds doors using sheet molding compound, recently finished three plant expansions plus a brand-new facility in Roland, Okla.
The projects include a new SMC line that the company touts as the largest in the world.
"We're just now commissioning it," said Dan Templeton, vice president of technical for the Maumee, Ohio, company, about the SMC line.
Privately held Therma-Tru invested $75 million in the expansions, which include the acquisition of a steel-door facility in Fredericksburg, Va.
The company began expanding in September 1999, the same year it introduced the Smooth-Star line of SMC doors. The introduction of that line has acted as a catalyst for the expansions, Templeton said.
"It took off like a rocket," he said. "After two years of production, it's already exceeding Fiber-Classic in terms of unit sales." The company's Fiber-Classic line of doors has been on the market for 18 years.
Smooth-Star doors are manufactured almost entirely in-house, Templeton said.
"The sheet molding compound is prepared by Therma-Tru using materials derived from a large number of resin, fiberglass and additive/adjunct aids vendors," he stated. SMC skins are then assembled onto a wooden frame at door assembly plants in Indiana and Oklahoma. Polyurethane is injected into the hollow shells, he said.
In November 2000, the company ceased use of its Van Buren, Ark., plant, which it had outgrown. They moved operations just over the state line to the Roland facility, which measures more than 375,000 square feet. Production began in April. By the end of this year, the plant expects to reach full employment of 400.
The company will add more than 320,000 square feet to two plants in Indiana. One plant acts as a sheet molding compound facility, where eight machines have been added.
"We're almost doubling the size of the second plant," Templeton said of the plant that's dedicated to fiberglass door assembly. One line will be added to that plant to support growing demand for Classic-Fit, Fiber-Classic and Smooth Star doors, according to company information.
At a plant in Matamoros, Mexico, the company has added 55,000 square feet. The operation makes decorative doorlites and sills, Templeton said.
The $342 million company expects double-digit growth through the next five years, said Carl Hedlund, president and chief operating officer.
At the International Builders' Show Feb. 9-12 in Atlanta, the company rolled out a Web site (www.therma-tru.com) where visitors can select the home that most closely resembles their own and find doors to suit their tastes. By sending in a photograph of their homes, the company offers a home project folder.
Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this article.