Carolina Technical Plastics Corp. plans an expansion in New Bern, N.C., that should launch it into auto parts production.
The company now mainly molds for BSH Home Appliance in New Bern, but it is setting its sights on selling to local automotive original equipment manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes, as well as their suppliers.
Carolina Technical plans to spend $5 million on the expansion, which is due for completion by year's end.
The project includes a 51,200-square-foot addition plus an undisclosed number of injection presses with clamping forces of 200-1,000 tons. The machines will be purchased as demand warrants.
``It is a tremendous effort by a lot of people that this addition could be realized only four years after the start of doing business in North America,'' said Udo Wirthwein, chief executive officer of Carolina Technical's parent company, Wirthwein AG of Creglingen, Germany.
Carolina Technical spent about $11 million on the New Bern plant and equipment when it broke ground there in February 2003.
Since then, it has grown to a 70-person business running 20 injection presses of 50-1,600 tons. The operation's capabilities include overmolding and compression molding.
Another 50 employees will be hired as a result of the expansion, according to Wirthwein Vice President Bernd Nagel.
The expansion will allow Carolina Technical to hike its output of medium and large parts for washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, as well as add automotive and other structural and cosmetic parts to its mix.
The firm will be able to mold glass-filled polypropylene, ABS, polycarbonate/ABS blends and thermoplastic polyurethane in New Bern. As well, the site can perform assembly, welding, hot stamping and tool repair.
Company officials are requesting $30,200 in Craven County economic development incentives and another $45,000 in grants.
Carolina Technical is Wirthwein's only U.S. molding business. It evolved from Wirthwein's supplier relationships with BSH Home Appliance and other OEMs in Europe. The firm employs 1,500 and anticipates 2007 sales of 210 million euros ($283 million).