Conair Group plans to nearly triple the available space it has to build downstream extrusion equipment when it moves operations in September from Bay City, Mich., to Pinconning, Mich.
The 50,000-square-foot plant on 3 acres that Conair recently purchased in Pinconning will help respond to a steady surge in new downstream extrusion business, according to a July 15 news release from Conair in Cranberry Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh.
“Since the middle of 2010, when the manufacturing sector really began to recover from the recent recession, we've seen a huge up-turn in our extrusion business,” Ernie Preiato, vice president of extrusion sales, said in the release. “In the first half of this year, we've been running steadily at 30-40 percent ahead of plan.”
Much of that increase is in the medical market, where Conair supplies downstream sizing and cooling systems for precision tubing. But the large-diameter pipe market and the company's extruder original equipment customers are also busy, he said.
In September 2007, Conair acquired Michigan Plastics Machinery Co. of Kawkawlin, Mich., and moved that business and all Conair extrusion manufacturing to an 18,000-square-foot facility in Bay City, Conair spokesman Scott Collins said. That plant will continue to operate, supplemented by the main Conair production site in Franklin, Pa., until Pinconning is ready in late September.
The Pinconning plant will house manufacturing and administrative operations, as well as conference and training facilities, according to the release. Between loading docks at each end of the facility, overhead cranes will facilitate assembly of larger equipment, while utilities like air, water and electric power will be routed underground to a series of pylons to accommodate cellular manufacturing on the factory floor.
Collins said in a July 15 telephone interview that the plant has expanded welding and machining capabilities and that Conair will install a new heated paint booth for faster drying and improved finish quality of downstream products.
Another feature of the new plant will be a separate extrusion lab where development work, customer trials and training can be conducted more efficiently, officials said.
“Currently, our lab needs to compete for floor space with assembly. It's just not the ideal environment for the kind of work that we and our customers need to do,” Rich Shaffer, vice president of engineering and operations, said in the release.
Conair does not reveal sales numbers, but officials told Plastics News earlier this year that after a dismal 2009, auxiliary equipment sales rebounded 25 percent in 2010 and business has improved in 2011, allowing Conair to rehire some laid-off workers.