Entek Extruders, a maker of twin-screw compounding extruders, is spending $5.8 million to expand manufacturing in Lebanon, Ore.
The company also has opened offices in Asia and on the East Coast.
The latest expansion means that, in the past three years, Entek has invested more than $11 million to expand its factory space, add metalworking equipment and buy land. Why the big moves during a depressed machinery market?
Marty Ronkin, manufacturing director, said officials of the 65-employee company used excellent timing and good planning. Entek added special manufacturing equipment to reduce costs and keep ahead of pricing pressure, he said. The privately held company does not release sales.
Entek does its own metalworking, engineering and assembly. The company does farm out some sheet metal fabrication.
President Larry Keith said the company's manufacturing process is highly automated. He declined to give details on the type of equipment purchased.
The new expansion, announced in May, will add 25,000 square feet of space, bringing the total to more than 100,000 square feet. Keith said the company expects to break ground later this year.
Entek also bought 25 acres of land next to its current property. The company will build a road to serve the expanded operation.
Three years ago, in an announcement made at NPE 2000, Entek said it was investing $5.5 million to double its plant size, to its current 77,000 square feet.
Entek is a division of Entek Manufacturing Inc., also of Lebanon. The company started in 1984, mostly making custom-built screws and barrels for a sister company, Entek International LLC, which makes polyethylene battery separator material in Newcastle, England, and at the Oregon site.
Entek began selling externally in 1995. Now the company makes twin-screw, corotating compounding extruders and replacement parts for Leistritz, W&P and Berstorff models. Entek also handles turnkey projects and on-site engineering services.
``We'll build the whole plant for somebody,'' Keith said. ``In fact, that's one area where our business is strongest.''
Keith said Entek also has benefited from the weaker dollar. Most competing makers of compounding extruders are German, so the exchange rate helps Entek defend its home U.S. market. The company also gets a break when exporting machines to Europe and Asia, he said.
Entek also is heavily involved with direct extrusion, where material is compounded directly into a finished product, instead of plastic pellets. For wood flour, the company sells both direct compounding and traditional pelletizing lines.
In other news, Entek has hired Mark Mulone, formerly the sales manager for Latin America for compounding extruder maker Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer Corp. (now Coperion Corp.) in Ramsey, N.J. Mulone will be based at a still-to-be-announced site in the northeastern United States. Most recently, he was a vice president of sales for SIG Corpoplast, part of blow molding machinery supplier SIG Plastics Technologies (USA) Inc. of North Branch, N.J.
In May, Entek opened an office and warehouse in Singapore to serve customers in Asia. Staffing the office are Hwa Tay, a mechanical engineer, Jonathan Tan, who has a degree in manufacturing specializing in extrusion, and Shirlee Ng, executive assistant.
The newly hired people will be at Entek's NPE 2003 stand. At NPE, Entek (Booth N7543) will show three twin-screw extruders, with screw diameters of 27, 53 and 103 millimeters.