Wilbert expanding South Carolina site
BROADVIEW, ILL. - A year after purchasing an injection molding plant in South Carolina as part of another acquisition, Wilbert Inc. is expanding the operation.
The company will invest $3 million to expand the St. Matthews, S.C., plant, adding presses and upgraded paint lines at the 100,000-square-foot building, said Pat Black, chairman of the Calhoun County Development Commission. Wilbert, based in Broadview, will add about 75 jobs once the expansion is completed, Black said Aug. 17.
The facility makes hoods and covers for lawnmowers and tractors, currently employing about 125. Wilbert purchased the plant when it bought the assets of Morton Custom Plastics LLC in December 2002 after a preplanned Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Morton, which then was based in Harrisburg, N.C.
Wilbert is one of North America's largest heavy-gauge thermoformers and also makes concrete burial vaults and other funeral-service products.
Clarion making plans for Mexico plant
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Clarion Technologies Inc. is laying the groundwork to move some work to Mexico, to follow a growing number of its home-appliance customers.
The Grand Rapids injection molder has sold one of its Greenville, Mich., facilities to Greenville News Inc., which will use the site to house its local newspaper and printing operation. Clarion will pay $80,000 annually to lease back the plant, though, to continue production there for three years.
At the same time, the company is wrapping up plans for a new plant in Ciudad Ju rez, Mexico, said John Brownlow, vice president of sales. There are multiple home-appliance manufacturers near Ciudad Ju rez, he said. Sweden's Electrolux AB announced plans earlier this year to invest $150 million in a new plant in Mexico during the next two years.
Last year, Clarion purchased a Pella, Iowa, injection molding plant to expand its reach to home-appliance makers in the Midwest.
Clarion posted $57.7 million in sales through the first six months of 2004, up from $47.7 million for the same period in 2003, and had profit of $1.3 million, nearly equal to profit for the same period a year earlier.
Delphi division to team up with Parlex
TROY, MICH. - Delphi Corp. is looking to bump up its nonautomotive sales with an alliance between its Delphi Connection Systems group and electronics specialist Parlex Corp.
The agreement, announced Aug. 19, should provide Troy-based Delphi with increased sales for completed flexible circuit products to the military and aerospace markets. Delphi will use Parlex flexible circuits and its own injection molded connectors to assemble final circuitry systems from its Tijuana, Mexico, facility.
Delphi has some sales to military and aerospace users, along with a developing sales base in the medical and computer industries. The agreement with Methuen, Mass.-based Parlex will supplement that, with the companies estimating the arrangement will be worth about $7 million in sales annually.
``This relationship ... will further strengthen our efforts with a product base and design capability that complements our engineering activities, and it will benefit our business profile with such a close tie to a market leader,'' said Kevin Heigel, business line executive for Delphi Connection Systems.
California district reconsiders fuel plant
HANFORD, CALIF. - Under environmental pressures, a pollution-control district is re-evaluating plans for Plastic Energy California LLC's proposed Hanford-area plant to make low-sulfur diesel fuel from post-consumer polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District suspended a construction approval permit Aug. 4 and requested additional information about material selection, ongoing monitoring and source testing for toxins.
``We sent a letter asking for more information,'' Rick McVaigh, a permit services manager at the district office in Fresno, Calif., said by phone. ``We want to re-evaluate to make sure it is safe.''
The Newcastle, Calif., company intends to install an updated version of a catalytic cracking process being used to recycle polymers in Poland and South Korea.