Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. will spend nearly $60 million to upgrade its injection molding operations in Warren, Ohio, ensuring long-term strategies for the firm's Packard Electric Division in the region.
The company will place 120 presses in a new facility being built for it with help from the government. The site will emphasize the latest technical production capabilities while also molding components for the growing automotive and consumer electronics markets. It should open for business in 2003.
``Technology is continually changing, and we will be implementing the latest and greatest that is available,'' said Delphi spokeswoman Ann Cornell.
The site will echo the operations and layout of Delphi's Cortland, Ohio, molding operation, which opened last year. That plant uses extensive computerized systems to run a seven-day, 24-hour operation with as few as 18 operators for 120 presses.
``When you look at what we went from to what we have at Cortland, it was a huge leap forward, with technology that wasn't available 15 or 20 years ago,'' Cornell said.
The Western Reserve Port Authority, a state-supported economic development group, will build the new site in Warren and lease it to Delphi Packard, part of Troy, Mich.-based auto supply giant Delphi Automotive. The company also will receive a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement on its $58.5 million investment.
About 180 workers eventually will report to the facility. They will not represent new jobs but instead will transfer from existing Packard operations in the area, Cornell said. The plant itself represents a shift in business focus for the firm in Ohio.
The corporation once focused its wiring harness operations in the area, but that work is labor-intensive, and Delphi has shipped much of it to sites where labor costs are not as high. The connection systems work switches workers from hand assembly to producing the connectors needed for all types of electronics.
``We have been changing our product portfolio,'' Cornell said.
The connection unit molds the parts needed not only in the auto industry but also in telecommunications, consumer products and electronics. Delphi estimates the global connectors market will hit $46 billion in sales by 2005, up from $33.2 billion last year.
``We've been trying to bring in businesses that are competitive and best utilize people and how they're trained,'' Cornell said. ``Connection systems gives us a venue for job retention and growth.''