Growth expectations and a desire to be closer to customers are leading RheTech Inc. to open a compounding plant in Blacksburg, S.C., later this year.
The plant will be fully operational by June 1, occupying an existing 100,000-square-foot building and creating 20 jobs in its first full year of operation, according to officials with Whitmore Lake, Mich.-based RheTech.
The facility will start with a pair of twin-screw extrusion lines. Its primary products will be filled and reinforced compounds based on nylon and other engineering resins such as polycarbonate and ABS. RheTech's reinforced-nylon compounds are sold under the RheLon brand name.
In a Jan. 7 phone interview, Andy Hopkins, executive vice president, described South Carolina as a part of the country where there's growth in the manufacturing industry.
We found a good site that was available, Hopkins said. It has good highway proximity and was suitable for what we were looking for.
RheTech's initial investment in the plant will be about $2 million. Hopkins said business at RheTech's three existing plants in Whitmore Lake; Fowlerville, Mich.; and Sandusky, Ohio won't be affected by the new facility. Those plants make compounds and color and additive concentrates based on a variety of commodity and engineering resins.
This is totally new business, he said.
RheTech employs a total of 150 at its three existing sites. The privately held firm has annual sales of about $80 million.
This new facility will not only support our existing operations, but allow us better access to automotive, consumer, electrical and clean-energy markets throughout the southeastern U.S., RheTech engineered plastics President Evan DeWulf said in a Jan. 6 news release.
South Carolina offers us an excellent business environment as well as an exceptionally talented workforce, he added.
News of the new plant continues a busy 18-month period for RheTech. In mid-2009, the firm sold its RheMax-brand line of long-glass-fiber-filled polypropylene compounds to Sabic Innovative Plastics. RheTech continues to toll-compound those products in Fowlerville for Sabic.
Last year, Rhetech began offering specialized, natural-fiber blends to tap into interest in environmentally friendly resins. Those blends have been commercialized in bird feeders and eventually may find a home in the automotive market, officials said.