Despite a delay of about a year, Polymer Conversions Inc.'s new, 20,000-square-foot addition is taking shape and should be ready by March.
``We're very pleased and excited about growing in this area. Certainly it was our first choice. Fortunately, it came together through the efforts of various New York agencies that support growth,'' said Ben Harp, chief operating officer at Polymer Conversions.
The custom molder had announced its $3.7 million Orchard Park expansion plan back in May of 2006, but it hit a few snags, including one when it attempted to reduce the cost of electricity while at the same time expanding its production. That led Polymer Conversions to look at other options, including a possible move to an existing Pennsylvania facility, where it found cheaper electricity.
Harp noted, ``It is our fourth-largest cost, so when we can go to a nearby state and it is 50 percent less, it is a big deal and we spent a lot of time fighting for what we thought was right.''
The process was long, involving the local utility and various state agencies before a resolution was reached. Now, Polymer Conversions is staying.
The latest announcement was that the Empire State Development Manufacturing Assistance Program will provide $375,000 to assist the company with the costs of the expansion.
The program assists New York companies by investing in capital projects that significantly improve their productivity and competitiveness.
``Right now the walls are complete. The rooftop will be on by the end of the year and the internal aspects of the addition will be done in early spring of 2008, probably in March,'' said Harp.
The company started by the husband-wife team of Jack and Joan Bertsch 28 years ago still is going strong. Harp said that they had a strong quarter and are looking optimistically at the future.
Polymer Conversions has been building its medical and healthcare business, and Harp admits that a good part of the new section will hold a Class 8 clean room with a controlled environment.
``We've seen a lot of positives - we've been serving the healthcare industry for over 15 years so it is not anything new, but we've been successful in introducing new things to new customers,'' Harp said.
Polymer Conversions employs 82 and is planning to add 10 more people in the next two years.
The company runs 21 injection molding presses, ranging from 30 - 390 tons. That includes seven all-electric machines, mostly Toros. Harp said that he expects to replace more of the hydraulic machines with electric machines as the firm moves forward.