Protective packaging manufacturer Automated Solutions LLC is consolidating two smaller plants as it prepares to move into a renovated facility in Sawmills, N.C.
The Hickory, N.C.-based firm, which makes non-woven polyethylene and polypropylene bags, as well as cohesive and adhesive foam and bubble products, will consolidate plants in Hickory and Hudson, N.C., into the new factory, Bob Campbell, managing partner, said in a June 11 telephone interview.
The company currently has about 24,000 square feet of operating space; the move will give it 75,000 square feet, Campbell said, and allow it to add 25 new employees to its existing 12-person workforce during the next three years.
We're a small company trying to grow, and we keep missing opportunities because of our lack of space. This is a milestone for us, he said.
Automated Solutions, which markets its wares as Automated Protective Products, manufactures the bulk of its goods on proprietary machinery. Its customers include furniture manufacturers such as American Leather, Klaussner Home Furnishings and La-Z-Boy.
Other clients include industrial tarpaulin supplier Shur-Co. and Patten Co., a manufacturer of commercial and military inflatable boats.
Automated Solutions was founded in 1975 as a machinery supplier to the textile industry. It adopted its current name in 1998. In 2005, it introduced packaging primarily for upholstered furniture. In 2006, the firm started a technical products division to design and build custom equipment for fabric cutting.
Automated Solutions received a combination of state and local financial incentives for its move to Sawmills, which is scheduled for this summer. The aid package adds up to about $501,000, Mayor Bob Gibbs said in a June 11 phone interview.
The plant that Automated Solutions will occupy formerly belonged to Hammary Furniture, a subsidiary of La-Z-Boy. Sawmills and surrounding Caldwell County, N.C. formerly a stronghold of the U.S. furniture industry have in recent years seen that industry pack up and move chunks of its manufacturing capacity to Asia.
We're trying to rebuild our box with plastics, Gibbs said. Any time [companies] want to come and talk to us, we're glad to meet them.
Plastics companies with a presence in Caldwell County include injection molder Bemis Manufacturing Co.; packaging manufacturers Pregis Corp. and Sealed Air Corp.; compounder PolyChem Alloy Inc.; adhesive tapes manufacturer Shurtape Technologies LLC; and PE septic container molder Mariner Container Corp.
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