American Way expands into new plant
NORTH JACKSON, OHIO - American Way Manufacturing Inc. will expand and relocate its vinyl fencing accessories operation.
The North Jackson private firm will spend about $2.3 million to build a 50,000-square-foot plant in Lordstown, Ohio. It expects to complete the building in early April, said David Craine, general manager.
American Way injection molds vinyl fittings, most of which are based on designs patented by the company's founder and owner Robert Platt, Craine said in a telephone interview. The company also makes metal fittings. Sales are evenly split between the vinyl and metal products.
Craine said his company is moving because there is no room to expand in its 20,000-square-foot, leased facility. With the extra space, American Way can increase production without major capital expenses. Its 14 injection molding machines are enough to support growth, but the company will buy some auxiliary equipment. Craine said the company's sales have tripled in the past few years, but he did not provide figures.
American Way qualifies for a 55 percent tax abatement under the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. Over the six-year life of its tax credit, the firm will save about $62,000. Other assistance includes a $1 million state loan and a $12,400 Ohio Investment in Training Program grant.
American Way expects to boost employment to 57 from its current 26 in the first three years of the expansion and relocation. The incentives helped sway American Way to expand in Ohio rather than in Pennsylvania, the firm said.
Royal makes profitability plans public
WOODBRIDGE, ONTARIO - Royal Group Technologies Ltd. has outlined some manufacturing plans to improve profitability and to prepare it for a possible takeover.
The Woodbridge-based profile and pipe extruder announced Sept. 22 that it will rely more on global operations to buy materials and to make commodity products for the North American market. It will cut 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space during the next few years, in addition to plant space it will lose by selling operations.
Royal will put more emphasis on developing cellular and composite profiles and plans to add three new such products this year. At the shop-floor level, the company will introduce statistical-process-control systems run by operators. It aims to have such setups on a third of its extrusion lines by late 2006 and on half its lines by the end of 2007. Royal Group also will retrofit about 20 percent of its lines with high-speed tooling by the end of 2006.
Royal's board has approved an improvement plan that management began putting together in July. In addition to a previously announced plan to sell its Baron Metal Industries, Royal Alliance and Roadex Transport subsidiaries, Royal is reviewing other businesses that might be divested. Officials also are exploring ways to refinance the company.
The firm has kept large areas of its improvement plan confidential except with potential bidders for the company.
Katrina spares Advanced Plastics site
COLUMBUS, OHIO - Advanced Plastics Inc. opened its newest distribution center near New Orleans this summer, eager to meet the demands of customers along the western Gulf of Mexico coast.
Once Hurricane Katrina rolled through the region, though, the company was not certain what it would find, said Thomas Arnold, sales manager for the Nashville, Tenn.-based distributor of fiberglass, cast polymers and other materials, during a Sept. 28 interview at the American Composites Manufacturers Association's Composites 2005 in Columbus.
It took a week before anyone could make it in to the site in the western New Orleans suburb of Harahan, he said. But once there, they discovered only minor damage.
``Our customers started showing up the next day,'' Arnold said. ``We didn't have any phone lines working, but they needed to know if they could still get their products.''
Two of the eight employees at Advanced Plastics' New Orleans location lost their homes in the storm, but work is getting back to normal, he said.
``The reasons for opening the business there are still there,'' Arnold said. ``The shipping port is still there, there's still a strong marine industry there and most people are going to rebuild.''