Officials at toll compounder Hexa Americas Inc. are hoping that higher volume will allow the firm to add its fifth extrusion line and a 50,000-square-foot warehouse expansion in Sidney by the end of next year.
But both projects are dependent on the firm moving from its current five-day work week to a seven-day schedule, officials with Sidney-based Hexa said during a recent interview at the company's headquarters.
The 6-year-old firm is owned by Japanese materials firms Hexa Chemical Co. Ltd., Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Technopolymer Co. Ltd. Hexa Americas employs 42 at a 100,000-square-foot plant.
ABS is the largest-volume material processed by Hexa Americas, primarily through material imported from Asia by Technopolymer Co. Ltd., which ranks as one of Japan's largest ABS makers. The firm also toll compounds polypropylene, polycarbonate, polybutylene terephthalate and similar resins. Some of Hexa's PP work is done for Sidney-based Advanced Composites Inc., which also is part-owned by Mitsui.
Roughly 90 percent of Hexa's output is sold into the automotive market, with 80 percent of that amount going to Toyota and Honda vehicles, according to Hexa President Hideaki Tanaka. Materials toll compounded by Hexa are used in a variety of interior and exterior parts, including spoilers, headlights and rear support structures, Tanaka added.
During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, Hexa was able to avoid layoffs by having employees work a staggered schedule. Earlier this year, they were on pace to move to a seven-day work week before slowdowns caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, plant manager Dale Walters said.
Now, if business improves, Hexa is likely to add the fifth extrusion line next year. The new warehousing space would then be needed. Hexa has annual capacity of more than 26 million pounds. Moving to a seven-day schedule would increase that total to almost 40 million pounds, Walters added.
Tanaka said the firm's 2011 sales could reach $28 million, representing an increase of almost 6 percent vs. 2011.