Sportech Inc., which thermoforms windshields, visors and other products for snowmobiles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles and other transportation in the ``power sports'' business, will break ground June 3 on a 92,000-square-foot headquarters factory in Elk River, Minn.
The factory will bring all operations together under one roof. Right now, Sportech is run out of three separate, 20,000-square-foot buildings, said controller Chris Keller.
Owner Chris Carlson founded Sportech in the early 1990s in his home, selling aftermarket plastic snowmobile parts molded by other companies. In 1998, Carlson built a 10,000-square-foot building and began to do thermoforming. Expansions followed every two or three years. Sportech customers include some big-name players, such as Polaris Industries Inc., Arctic Cat Inc., Deere & Co. and Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
Sportech will invest $6 million-$7 million on the building and equipment, Keller said in a May 30 telephone interview.
``With this move, we will not only be retaining our 66 full-time employees, but we will also be creating 25 additional full-time positions,'' Carlson said.
The company needs the single, larger factory to handle rapid growth, officials said. Keller said Sportech projects sales will reach $20 million this year.
Sportech specializes in windshields, visors, lighting accessories, body panels and screen-printed components. The firm uses the drape forming and vacuum forming processes. It also has equipment for automated routing, die cutting and screen printing, as well as rapid prototyping abilities.
The firm invests in new technologies. Its Web site highlights a 2006 patent for a hand-operated windshield assembly and coupling mechanism, so that a damaged windshield can be installed and removed quickly from an ATV without the need for tools.
Sportech currently runs three Maac thermoforming machines, two shuttle presses and one rotary machine. Keller said the fourth Maac is coming in mid-June.
All the machinery will be moved to the new plant, which is expected to open in October.