O'Neil Color & Compounding Corp. is replacing smaller compounding lines in Tennessee and New Jersey with larger twin-screw machines.
Plants in Jasper, Tenn., and Garfield, N.J., each are receiving one new line. The Garfield line started in early April, while the Jasper line was to be in place by the end of the month, said President Mark Bruner.
The cost of the project - which will increase the Jasper-based firm's overall capacity by 20 million pounds annually - is more than $1 million, Bruner said.
The new capacity in Jasper will be used to make thermoplastic elastomer-based compounds for custom molding in the automotive, electrical and lawn and garden markets; while the line in Garfield will meet new color concentrate demand in cosmetics, displays, packaging and profiles.
Privately held O'Neil does not release sales figures, but Bruner said sales were up 15 percent in 2004 and are on track to climb 20-25 percent this year.
``Our customers are always looking for new colors and new effects, and we've been able to give them what they want,'' said Bruner, an industry veteran who joined the firm earlier this year after previously working for O'Neil as a consultant.
O'Neil operates 11 lines in Jasper and seven in Garfield, and employs about 115. The firm is a unit of Primex Plastics Corp., a Richmond, Ind.-based sheet extruder that was 27th in a recent Plastics News ranking of North American film and sheet makers.
Primex, which had estimated sheet sales of $220 million in 2003, is ``a substantial customer'' for O'Neil, according to Bruner. Primex is owned by ICC Industries Inc., a New York-based comglomerate.