United Plastic Fabricating Inc., which makes polypropylene tanks for firefighters, plans to expand its Wisconsin operations.
The company will move from its 48,000-square-foot facility in Neenah, Wis., to a 70,000-square-foot plant in the same town around Dec. 1. Construction began April 11 on the facility, which the company will lease.
``Our products are so large, [holding] up to 5,000 gallons, so shipping is a consideration - we want to be close to [customers],'' said George Goros, vice president of manufacturing operations.
The expansion is the fourth for the Neenah operation. United Plastic is headquartered in a 35,000-square-foot facility in North Andover, Mass. It also has a 38,000-square-foot plant in Ocala, Fla., which Goros said may expand next year. The company employs a total of 225.
``We've been in the business for 18 years and we've had double-digit growth every year,'' he said.
Goros said 5,000-6,000 fire trucks are made in a year, and more than 80 percent include United Plastic tanks for water and foam.
The firm's co-founders have firefighting-related backgrounds. Al Burnham, now retired, was a fire truck mechanic, while Joe Lingel, president and chief executive officer, is a captain in his local volunteer fire department.
The firm started by replacing fire truck tanks made of metal, which suffer from rust and welding problems, Goros said. The company has gained a large share of the market by offering lifetime guarantees on its tanks.