Plastic material-handling container maker Georg Utz Inc. is breaking ground on an 80,000-square-foot facility in Edinburgh, Ind., on Aug. 19 as part of $15 million project to increase production and expand its markets.
The project includes adding injection molding capability, which will be a first for the firm.
Georg Utz, which is based in Columbus, Ind., operates from 5,000 square feet of rented space to thermoform trays up to 24 by 15 inches and pallets as large as 48 by 45 inches. The company also had been using contract injection molders to help as needed.
``This is a really big step,'' General Manager Thomas Schwank said in a telephone interview.
The facility, due for completion in May, will include production, warehousing and office space. All 10 employees are planning to make the move, which is less than 10 miles, according Schwank.
The company also expects to boost its workforce to 50 people by 2011.
Schwank said the new plant will include four Engel injection molding machines, ranging from 650-3,500 tons of clamping force. It also plans to add four thermoforming machines.
Georg Utz Inc. was founded in 2003 and is a subsidiary of Georg Utz Holding AG of Switzerland. Utz Group is a global supplier of plastic storage and transport containers and pallets, with 2007 sales of $250 million. In addition to its Indiana and Switzerland operations, the firm has plants in Germany, France, Poland, England and China.
Schwank said that a main reason for the expansion is to satisfy U.S. customers.
As a European supplier, Utz uses the standard metric system, but the firm plans to diversify its offerings with products measured in inches. One growth area is with U.S. automakers, where Schwank said needs are defined in inches and the standard pallets they want measure 48 inches by 45 inches.
Schwank said Utz has always supplied European carmakers, but sees opportunities with U.S. companies.
Georg Utz works with a variety of companies including Toyota, Honda, pharmaceutical firm Eli Lily, engine maker Cummins Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service.
The company is working with the Columbus Economic Development Board to obtain a tax and infrastructure incentives package, with help from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Bartholomew County and the city of Edinburgh.