CMI Plastics Inc., a thermoformer of packaging for medical products and cosmetics, and parts for the marine industry, is building a 70,000-square-foot factory in Greenville, N.C., and will move from Cranbury, N.J. - its home since 1960.
CMI's owners, the Hasselbach family, expect to invest $10 million in the first year for the building and new equipment, and $23 million over a three-year period. CMI will employ 85 people initially, and eventually expand to 165 as more production lines are added, according to the Pitt County Development Commission in Greenville.
CMI President Steve Hasselbach Jr. said construction should be completed in October.
``Our plan is to be totally moved in and operational by Dec. 31,'' he said in a phone interview.
Executives held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 27.
The state's One North Carolina Fund awarded CMI $300,000 in grants. Pitt County will match that money with another $300,000, said Wanda Yuhas, executive director of the development commission. The funding is contingent on CMI meeting targets for capital investments and new jobs.
``We're planning to have 15 in-line machines in the new facility,'' Hasselbach said. CMI now has 12 thermoforming machines in New Jersey. The company does not release sales figures.
CMI employs a full-time workforce of 40 people, a number that increases to as many as 90 during busy periods, when the firm uses temporary help. Hasselbach said about 75 percent of CMI's full timers have indicated a desire to move to North Carolina. Many are longtime thermoforming workers, since the company does not have much turnover, he said.
CMI focuses on roll-fed thermoforming of medical and cosmetic packaging, as well as contract packaging for other markets. The company also does some cut-sheet forming, an area that Hasselbach wants to expand in the new plant, to serve North Carolina's boat industry.
``This relocation and expansion is necessary in order to accommodate our rapidly growing business and to keep us contending with our main competitors that have overseas operations,'' Hasselbach said, noting that CMI faces competition from cosmetics packaging from China.
``To be able to compete with [China] you have to use technology and lower overhead. That's what North Carolina offered us,'' Hasselbach said.
CMI bought 13 acres, enabling it to expand its factory, as needed, to 200,000 square feet. In Cranbury, CMI had a total of 30,000 square feet of space after adding onto the plant in piecemeal fashion over the years.
``It's going to be a lot different being in a building where machines are lined up and efficiencies are a lot higher,'' he said.
The New Jersey location is rich in history. Hasselbach's grandfather, Arthur Hasselbach Sr., founded Consolidated Models Inc. in 1939 in the Bronx, to make balsa-wood model airplane kits. He started vacuum forming in the late 1940s. The company also was known for building kits for the Boy Scouts' pine-wood derby cars.