PVC pipe and fittings manufacturer Freedom Plastics Inc. is investing about $8 million in an injection molding plant near its Janesville, Wis., headquarters as part of a joint venture with Brazilian pipe and fittings maker Tigre SA.
The two companies are leasing 35,000 square feet of a 75,000-square-foot facility in Janesville, said Doug Venable, the city's economic development director, in an Aug. 24 telephone interview.
Officials from Freedom and Tigre could not be reached for comment.
Venable said the company has added ``seven or eight'' injection molding machines, with plans to add more machinery and workers in 2008.
The companies are molding fittings for pipe diameters ranging from one-half inch to 12 inches.
Tigre is a $1 billion company that provides pipe and fittings to much of Latin America. The firm, based in Joinville, Brazil, claims to be the leading manufacturer of plastic pipe and fittings in Latin America.
According to a Freedom Plastics news release, the venture is Tigre's first manufacturing plant in North America.
Freedom Plastics also operates pipe and fittings plants in Fort Pierce, Fla., and Preston, Idaho. The company employs about 280.
Tigre serves the water, electrical, telecommunication, gas and housing industries with plants in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina.
``More and more we see customers wanting to consolidate their purchasing to reduce costs,'' said Gary Wolfe, Freedom's marketing director, in a news release. ``The addition of Tigre's molded fittings to our existing product line perfectly fills a hole in our current offering.''
As part of the project, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development on Aug. 23 approved a $8,540 grant to Blackhawk Technical College that will be used to train about 80 Freedom workers on new technology, equipment and products.