Acrylic block window injection molder Hy-Lite Products Inc. now is producing all of its window materials stateside, after recently moving its tooling and China-based production back to the U.S.
The move is a continuation of the ongoing integration of Hy-Lite and Pensacola, Fla.-based U.S. Block Windows Inc., after U.S. Block acquired Hy-Lite in March.
The collocated firms, which dominate the acrylic block window market in North America, operate out of a 70,000-square-foot plant in Pensacola. They also have a 25,000-square-foot window fabrication plant in Tempe, Ariz.
Production for Hy-Lite moved to China under the ownership of Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands Inc., which acquired Hy-Lite in 2006. That $630 million acquisition also included Parkersburg, W.Va.-based vinyl window maker Simonton Windows; urethane and cellular PVC millwork maker Fypon Ltd. in Archbold, Ohio; and Gadsden, Ala.-based Dixie-Pacific Manufacturing Co. Inc.
U.S. Block always did in-house injection molding, and has implemented that strategy with Hy-Lite, though an injection molder in Ohio also is helping to supply Hy-Lite, said Roger Murphy, president of U.S. Block and Hy-Lite, in an Oct. 6 telephone interview.
As part of moving production back to the United States, all of the companies' third-party-made vinyl extrusions are being produced domestically as well.
The plant floor now comprises eight injection presses, two of which are new. U.S. Block/Hy-Lite added a used Toshiba and a used Mitsubishi press to handle the increased demand. One press has 500 tons of clamping force; the other, 390 tons, Murphy said.
The firms primarily serve the new residential construction markets, but will look to tackle the replacement-window market as well as evolve their commercial construction business, he said.
Acrylic block windows provide a virtually identical look to their glass counterparts, but at 75 percent reduced weight, which allows for windows that can open and close as well as increased energy efficiency.
The firms have doubled their employee count in the molding department and will add staff as market demand increases, Murphy said. He declined to disclose the number of workers.
The residential home construction forecast calls for housing starts to be between 1 million and 1.2 million, he said, a huge increase over the 300,000-400,000 the U.S. had been experiencing.
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