Little Tikes shuttering California plant
HUDSON, OHIO - Little Tikes Co. is consolidating rotational molding at its Hudson headquarters plant.
The toy major said it will close its City of Industry, Calif., operation by April 25 and move production to Hudson. The move will cut jobs for about 150 employees.
Little Tikes said the Hudson site is larger, more efficient and produces toys with higher growth rates than the City of Industry facility. Spokeswoman Laurie Yingling said all new product development and new product launches take place in Hudson. Currently, if demand is high enough for a product, Little Tikes will make a second mold and ship it to City of Industry.
Little Tikes has seven rotomolding machines at its leased 320,000-square-foot City of Industry facility, which has been in operation since the early 1990s. The West Coast closure leaves Little Tikes with Hudson as its only plant. The firm closed several others in the late 1990s.
In recent years Little Tikes has been emphasizing new product development to offset slippage in playground equipment sales. Yingling said her firm, a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid Inc., has annual sales exceeding $250 million.
Plastech Engineered to open Ala. facility
ROMULUS, MICH. - Plastech Engineered Products Inc. is continuing its growth splurge, now planning a $35 million injection molding operation near Birmingham, Ala.
The 294,000-square-foot site in McCalla, Ala., will supply parts to the nearby DaimlerChrysler AG Mercedes plant in Vance, Ala., as well as components to Tier 1 suppliers in the region, the company announced March 16.
``This facility strengthens our ability to win new business in the Southeastern area,'' Plastech President Don Coates said in a news release. ``It also provides us significant growth potential.''
Romulus-based Plastech has been expanding since it signed a component-sourcing agreement with auto supplier Johnson Controls Inc. in 2001. Since then, it has announced plans for new facilities in Caro, Mich., and Chicago in addition to the Alabama site. It also reportedly is considering a second plant in Louisville, Ky. The McCalla plant will launch with about 250 people, with an expected expansion to 400.
102 jobs lost in Variform site closing
KEARNEY, MO. - Variform Inc. is closing its vinyl siding extrusion facility in Butler, Pa. Effective May 15, the shuttering will affect 102 employees.
``We're in an excess capacity situation,'' said Kurt Kuhnke, vice president of human resources with Kearney-based Variform. ``Really, it just doesn't have the efficiencies that we have in our other facilities.''
Variform owns the 100,000-square-foot facility, which lacks blending capacity, so officials face the extra work and money tied up in transporting materials to the location by truck or rail, Kuhnke said in a March 21 telephone interview.
During the past year,Variform has installed newer lines at extrusion sites in Kearney; Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Jasper, Tenn.
United Steelworkers of America represents 102 union workers in Butler. Company officials and union leaders reached a ``very reasonable shutdown agreement'' March 14, Kuhnke said.
Nortek Inc. of Providence, R.I., owns Variform. That firm acquired the Butler site in 1998, when it nabbed vinyl siding extrusion firm Napco Inc. Variform and Napco were combined soon after. Now, the firms fall under the PlyGem Industries Inc. umbrella for Nortek, along with Kroy Building Products Inc. of York, Neb., and window fabricator Great Lakes Windows Inc. in Toledo, Ohio.
According to Plastics News data, Variform reported $269 million in 2001 profile sales with 43 production lines and 1,100 workers.
Charlotte Pipe adding space to factory
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co. will invest $2.5 million to add 20,000 square feet to its facility in Monroe, N.C.
Officials from the Charlotte-based pipe extruder said the expansion does not mean the addition of machinery or more employees; rather, the space will host administrative offices and a disaster protection system as a backup for vital records.
Construction will begin later this month, officials said. The move will boost the company's total space in Monroe to more than 1 million square feet. That site employs about 600.
Charlotte Pipe operates facilities in Cameron, Texas; Muncy, Pa.; and Wildwood, Fla. The firm had an estimated $173 million in pipe sales for 2001, according to Plastics News data.