Reduction Engineering Inc., an equipment company that makes pelletizers, pulverizers and rotational molding machines, is investing about $6 million to build a new headquarters plant and add an automated paint line to an existing building.
``We need to establish ourselves as an equipment manufacturer,'' President Robert Sly said in a Sept. 6 telephone interview. ``We want to project to people that we're moving forward, and we want to offer better training, better support.''
The Kent, Ohio, company currently builds pelletizers at its 30,000-square-foot headquarters plant, which it owns. Reduction leases a 32,000-square-foot building across the street, where it fabricates pulverizers, machines that grind resin pellets into power for rotational molding.
Site preparation work has started for a large new headquarters on a 7-acre parcel of land that Sly owns, near the current headquarters. Sly is planning a grand opening in March.
The new headquarters, a $3.5 million investment, will house all assembly, machining and administration in an 85,000-square-foot factory space, with another 6,800 square feet of office space.
Sly said one big improvement will be a large training room and dedicated laboratory - something Reduction Engineering never has had before. ``We're going to have a twin-screw extruder and a single-screw extruder to do pelletizing trials,'' he said. ``We're also going to have a lab rotational molding machine. We'll have all the pulverizing, mixing and conveying on display for use in trials and testing.''
Once Reduction Engineering moves to the new headquarters next year, the company will probably lease out its current headquarters, Sly said.
Reduction has been leasing the second building, but now will exercise an option to buy it. The company will invest $2.5 million to turn that facility into a dedicated painting and finishing operation, Sly said.
On Aug. 27, the Ohio Department of Development, through its Development Financing Advisory Council, approved a low-interest loan of $750,000 for costs associated with buying a new automated paint line and a media blasting machine, used to prepare metal parts for painting. Sly said the paint line will use environmentally safe, water-soluble coatings.
Reduction Engineering has done a limited amount of its own paint work, but had to ship most of its machinery components out to other companies for painting. The company now will be able to prepare and paint its own parts and do painting for outside customers.
Sly said business from one major customer, which he declined to identify, will support much of the cost of the painting operation.
Reduction Engineering employs about 75 people in Kent and at a regional service center in Oxford, Mass. The company does not release sales figures.
According to the Ohio Development Financing Advisory Council, the painting operation is expected to create 25 jobs within three years.
Now a machinery maker, Reduction had modest beginnings. It evolved from an industrial knife repair and resharpening business, founded in 1992, called Accu-Grind Industrial Knife Co. Two years later, Sly founded Reduction Engineering as a sister company, to make pulverizers. The firm later added its Rotoline rotomolding machines, when Sly bought Brazilian machine maker Rotoline Industrial Equipment Ltda. of Santa Catarina.
Reduction began supplying rotors for Conair pelletizers in 2000, and then ended up buying the complete line of pelletizers from Conair Group Inc. last year.
Pelletizers chop strands of resin into finished pellets.