LATROBE, PA. (Oct. 28, 9 a.m. EDT) — Custom blow molder Premium Molding Inc. plans to relocate, double its space and add equipment to meet customer demands.
In March, Premium plans to move 12 miles from Derry, Pa., to a new, custom-engineered, 80,000-square-foot facility on 6½ acres in Latrobe. The streamlined plant will have manufacturing and warehouse space to handle assembly, stocking and related services now done off-site. Premium also does design and mold making.
The company is adding four blow molding machines. In November, an automated, continuous, two-sided shuttle extrusion machine will go into operation blow molding stock bottles for drug, cosmetic and personal-care applications. It also will serve the medical-device, recreational and lawn and garden markets.
At the new site, the firm will install a newly acquired Sterling with a 40-pound shot size that can blow mold a finished part weighing 25-30 pounds. The company soon will buy two more machines to be installed next year.
Among a dozen existing blow molding machines, Premium operates four Sterlings and three Impcos; the rest are from five different manufacturers.
Premium plans to automate before its customers migrate to countries with lower labor costs, according to G.G. Trasy, vice president of sales and marketing. Premium can blow mold multiple, dissimilar parts simultaneously. Engineers incorporate hole punching, nut attachment and other tasks during the molding phase to ease downstream assembly.
In return for state loans, Premium agreed to retain 70 jobs and add 14 during three years.
The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority provided $1.25 million under a state loan program, and the state Economic Development Financing Authority loaned $1.9 million under a tax-exempt bond program, according to Jim Smith, director of finance and development with the private Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, based in Greensburg, Pa. Premium also obtained bank funding.
Francis R. Bradley and Michael D. Nicely co-founded the business in 1987. Bradley sold his equity interest Jan. 4. Nicely is executive vice president and Ron Mehta is president and majority owner.
Originally the managers intended to expand during 2004, but low interest rates and a developer's incentive prompted them to step up the pace.
Premium reported 2001 sales of about $12 million and received ISO 9002 certification in July.