Benefiting from a new plant coming from Nissan North America Inc., molder Dickten & Masch Inc. is adding automotive work and new equipment at its Hattiesburg, Miss., facility.
The plant has won a contract worth more than $1.5 million annually to supply interior parts for new Nissan models, said Charles Phillips, manager of the 45,000-square-foot site.
The company will ship components to Nissan supplier M-Tek Inc. for assembly before they go to Nissan's new Canton, Miss., manufacturing site. M-Tek, a subsidiary of Kasai Kogyo Co. Ltd. of Japan, is opening its own molding and assembly facility in Canton to serve Nissan.
Dickten & Masch, based in Nashotah, Wis., opened the Hattiesburg facility in 1998, hoping to enter the automotive market by working with carmakers dotting the region, Phillips said. The company molds thermoplastic and thermoset parts and has a strong presence in the power-tool industry. The Nissan contract is the site's first automotive work.
In February, the facility will install a new Milacron injection press with a clamping force of 550 tons, its 27th press. The company is investing $250,000-$300,000 in the equipment.
About eight to 10 workers will be hired by the third quarter, for a total of nearly 100 employees at the facility, Phillips said.
The firm has 16 acres surrounding the site and would like to expand the building, he said.
``Hopefully, more automotive business will come to the plant and allow us to grow,'' Phillips said. ``We're very interested in under-the-hood applications using thermosets.''
On the Nissan project, the company will injection mold such parts as cup holders, visors and armrests. Those products will be used in the interior of Nissan's new minivans, pickup truck and sport utility vehicles produced at its 2.5 million-square-foot assembly plant. The Nissan plant is to start production this spring.
M-Tek is opening a 219,000-square-foot plant in Canton to make interior parts for Nissan and other carmakers. The M-Tek facility will have about eight injection presses between 850 and 3,000 tons, Phillips said.
The expansion is part of a growing plastics foundation in the region. Construction started Jan. 14 on an Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg to provide ongoing technical training to workers, said Gray Swoope, president of the Hattiesburg-based Area Development Partnership, an economic development group.
The 35,000-square-foot facility, costing about $3.8 million to build, will contain a major plastics component, Swoope said. It will open early this year in Hattiesburg.