Polo Custom Products has installed thermoforming capability at its Louisville, Miss., plant in a $525,000 project.
The company needs the capacity to offer customers flexibility and to decrease lead times.
The Louisville plant is Polo's only domestic thermoforming location. It also has been sourcing products from China since 2005. The Louisville equipment belonged to the former Foarm Following Function Inc. business, which was relocated from Santa Barbara, Calif., after Polo bought it in 2010. The move was completed in summer.
Polo's capabilities also include custom industrial sewing and radio-frequency sealing of flexible materials such as vinyl, nylon, urethane, aramids, Teflon and leather. Key markets are medical, safety, outdoor, military and various industrial uses. Polo spokeswoman Angela Goodrich said the expansion also will allow the company to offer its military customers products compliant with the Berry Amendment whereby the Department of Defense preferably sources certain goods that are domestically produced.
Polo did not indicate how many thermoforming lines it runs in Louisville.
Polo's other domestic plants in Monticello and Edgewood, Iowa, do not do thermoforming. Polo is a division of Topeka, Kan.-based M-C Industries Inc. M-C's other division, Sunflower Marketing, is involved in silk-screen printing and embroidery of sportswear.
M-C acquired Polo in 1964 when Polo was based in Milwaukee.
Polo employs about 150 and expects the Louisville expansion to create at least 10 jobs during the next two years.
The Mississippi Development Authority provided funds for renovation and the city of Louisville assisted infrastructure improvements.
“We appreciate the cooperation from both the state and local levels,” M-C President and CEO Karla Clem said in a news release. “It helps us bring additional capabilities to our customers, which will ultimately bring additional jobs to Louisville.”
The Mississippi Development Authority estimates more than 350 plastics and polymer companies operate in the state, employing more than 18,600 workers. The industry ranks eighth in U.S. per capita for the number of people employed in the sector, according to data published on the authority's website.