Custom molder Falcon Plastics Inc. is investing about $2.8 million for land, construction and infrastructure for an additional plant in Brookings, S.D. Production should start in June.
The company has operations four miles away at two connected buildings in Brookings, but, said President Jay Bender: ``We are essentially out of floor space, and we are so tightly packed that we are not as efficient as we could be.''
Falcon's other plants are in Madison, S.D., 40 miles from Brookings; and in Lexington, Tenn. The firm is based in Brookings.
The company is building an expandable, 60,000-square-foot plant on 15 acres and may add as many as 50 employees.
``We wanted to build a facility to handle larger molding machines,'' to accommodate more industrial and construction work, Bender said in a telephone interview.
He noted the use of larger equipment requires more capital but also tends to draw work less susceptible to foreign competition.
The new plant will have high side walls, new 5- and 15-ton cranes to move tools, and the necessary space for a press with a clamping force of 1,500 tons or perhaps 2,000 tons. Currently, Falcon moves molds with forklifts.
For starters, Falcon will transfer its two largest presses - a 950-ton Toshiba and an 825-ton Demag - from Madison.
``We may add two or three presses'' at the new plant, Bender said. ``We want to shift a significant amount of work.''
At the present Brookings location, Falcon pays thousands of dollars more in insurance fees because a dead-end utility feed left the site with inadequate water pressure for its sprinkler system, Bender said. Utility service at the new location is optimal.
The company is getting $348,000 in state aid from a Revolving Economic Development and Initiative Fund.
In October, Falcon spun off its tooling operation and moved it to a 10,000-square-foot site elsewhere in Brookings. The new entity, Premier Source, will do design work, manage tool building and handle low-volume injection molding on two small presses.
Falcon employs about 300 total at all its locations, operates 70 injection presses of 35-950 tons and two blow molding machines. It had sales of $25 million for the fiscal year ended April 30.
The firm uses three all-electric presses, two in Brookings and one in Lexington. On one job, an all-electric cut a cycle time by three seconds.
Bender actively monitors trade, currency and intellectual property issues as a member of the National Association of Manufacturers' board, its executive committee and its China task force.
``My customers are members of NAM,'' he said. ``If my customers put manufacturing overseas, then I have to pack up and go to China or get out of the business.''
Falcon's customers include Toshiba Corp.'s America consumer products unit, storm-door maker Larson Manufacturing Co., scoreboard and electronic display manufacturer Daktronics Inc. and 3M Corp.'s medical-surgical business.
Bender's brother, Guy, is Falcon's vice president, chief operating officer and board chairman, and brother-in-law Shaun Riedesel is vice president of engineering.