Newell Rubbermaid Inc. will expand its Winfield, Kan., plastics plant at a cost of $26.6 million.
The project, announced Dec. 22, will include relocating 200 jobs from the firm's Greenville, Texas, injection molding plant, which is slated to close in mid-2012. The Greenville closure will eliminate 490 jobs there.
The Greenville and Winfield facilities are part of the Rubbermaid Home Products business unit.
Newell Rubbermaid spokesman David Doolittle said injection presses will be moved from Greenville and the company is not planning to buy new machines for Winfield. The Winfield plant, which now employs about 550, also does blow molding.
The Winfield plant makes outdoor storage and living products, insulated water coolers and ice chests. The Sandy Springs, Ga., parent company said Winfield will expand capacity to make outdoor refuse and home organization products.
The program also entails building a 500,000-square-foot distribution center adjacent to the Winfield plastics plant because the facility will need the space when it expands production. The firm expects to complete the expansion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Winfield plant's history dates back to 1916, when Gott Manufacturing began producing metal water coolers at the site. Gott introduced plastic components in the 1960s and developed the first all-plastic water cooler, according to a Newell Rubbermaid news release. Rubbermaid acquired Gott in 1986.
Doolittle said pioneering plastics work has continued at Rubbermaid. One recent innovation is the Rubbermaid Product Saver, a container with air vents and a pedestal in the base to help prevent spoilage while keeping produce above its juice. Another is the Rubbermaid Reveal, a microfiber mop with a removable cleaning bottle into which a consumer can pour a cleaning agent. A third, recent product is Rubbermaid Lock-its, a precisely molded container and a seal that locks down to prevent leakage of liquid contents like soup.
“Rubbermaid has a long history of investing in the Winfield community and we appreciate the strong partnership we have with the state of Kansas and the people of Winfield,” said Michael Grant, Newell Rubbermaid operations director for Winfield.
Newell Rubbermaid recently received a building permit for the Winfield site, and is recruiting workers. Local and state agencies will provide undisclosed incentives and other assistance.
The Greenville closure is part of a project announced in mid-October. As part of that same project, the firm is closing Rubbermaid Commercial Products' Martinsburg, W.Va., distribution center and relocating it to nearby Frederick County, W.Va.
The Rubbermaid Commercial Products global business unit will invest $67.3 million to expand its Winchester, Va., injection molding plant and to acquire and renovate a 454,000-square-foot plant in Frederick County to house the new distribution center.
The project also involves closing the Wooster, Ohio, Home Products distribution center and moving it into an injection molding plant in nearby Mogadore, Ohio.
Rubbermaid Home Products is being replaced by Home Organization and Style, which now includes the Winfield plant and is a global business unit within the newly created Newell Consumer operating group. Newell Professional is the firm's only other operating group.