Custom thermoformer Formall Inc. plans to relocate to a larger facility to keep up with growth.
The Knoxville, Tenn., firm has been diversifying and expects its new relationships with original equipment manufacturers will continue to fuel growth.
``We want to be the No. 1 heavy-gauge thermoformer, not in terms of dollar sales but in terms of partnerships with OEMs,'' Formall Chief Executive Officer Gerd Krohn said by telephone.
Formall began diversifying several years ago, following concentration in the 1990s on returnable packaging for the textile industry. Now it also counts automotive, electronic, marine and agriculture among its key markets. Sales grew 20 percent in 2004 and vaulted another 200 percent last year, although Krohn did not disclose actual figures.
Krohn said Formall plans to build a 150,000-square-foot plant in Anderson County, Tenn. It wants to break ground on the plant in mid-2007 and occupy it by mid-2008. He foresees a $15 million investment in the building and equipment, and employment growth there to about 200-250.
Formall now leases an 85,000-square-foot plant staffed by 65 employees. For the first year or so, Krohn expects his firm to work out of both plants as it transitions to the bigger site.
Formall is negotiating to buy about 53 acres in the Anderson County industrial park. List price for the land is about $610,000. The site is about a 12-minute drive from Formall's current location.
``We want to stay close to where we are now,'' Krohn said, adding that proximity would encourage employees to stay with Formall and make the commute.
One of Formall's thermoforming lines can handle sheet as big as 9 feet by 17 feet, which the company is using to make a moving and storage product for an undisclosed OEM. Another line is a large twin-sheet former.
Formall also has thin-sheet, in-line forming capability, but it is using such machinery for heavy-gauge work. It performs such secondary operations as computer numerically controlled trimming, die cutting and decorating.