Intralox LLC, which makes modular plastic conveyor belts, is investing up to $80 million to build a second injection molding plant near New Orleans.
The company broke ground on an 80,000-square-foot plant in Hammond, La., about 50 miles north of Intralox's existing manufacturing campus in the New Orleans suburb of Harahan.
The site will supplement molding already done in Harahan and provide a second production line for the firm in North America.
Production will begin with 36 employees, but the 57-acre site includes room to grow. Intralox has the potential to expand to 570,000 square feet of manufacturing space and nearly 300 employees by 2014.
The company's Harahan molding facility, with 100 presses, is part of a 335,000-square-foot manufacturing campus that includes warehousing, assembly, engineering and sales offices for Intralox and its parent company, Laitrim Corp.
The Hammond site - on the north side of lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas - allows the company to expand while still remaining close to New Orleans, a company spokeswoman said.
The company did not suffer any structural damage when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. But power outages halted its production for 11 days and forced Intralox to import its own products from warehouses outside the United States so it could assemble them for customers until the plant returned to full capacity.
Intralox invented its interlocking injection molded conveyor belt in 1971 and molds and designs a modular system that allows the company to configure conveyor belts to each customer's needs.