Custom blow molder Agri-Industrial Plastics Co. is making room for continued expansion in the barrier fuel-tank market.
Agri-Industrial bought an 80,000-square-foot building next door to its Fairfield, Iowa, blow molding operation. Agri-Industrial expects to complete the deal, for which terms were not disclosed, on Sept. 1.
The firm is promoting use of six-layer, barrier plastic fuel tanks in non-automotive markets, sales manager Mick Stielor said in a phone interview.
“We have a number of new customers and new fuel-tank configurations. With additional [blow molding] machines, getting more customers will cause no concern about capacity constraints,” he said.
“We planned to expand anyway and when this building became available it was a perfect fit.”
Agri-Industrial will use about 68,000 square feet of the purchased building for warehousing. That will free up space in its current 184,000-square-foot Fairfield plant to install two new Kautex multilayer blow molding machines it ordered last November. The first machine was tested in Germany and is on its way to Fairfield. The second will be shipping in the next four to six weeks.
Stielow said the new building will eventually house more production capacity as the firm grows in fuel-tank markets. Agri-Industrial will lease back 18,000 square feet of the facility to its former owner, Hawthorne Direct, a full-service advertising agency that is moving some of its functions to Los Angeles.
Stielow said the owners of privately held Agri-Industrial recognized several years ago the implications of tightening fuel- emission regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency for non-automotive machinery. Agri-Industrial began investing in Kautex multilayer blow molders to capitalize on expanding demand for barrier fuel tanks in lawn and garden, power sports, all-terrain vehicles, watercraft and other products that run internal combustion engines from an attached fuel-storage tank.
Agri-Industrial will have five multilayer Kautex lines when the new ones are delivered and 19 other Kautex industrial blow molders in Fairfield.
Stielow said both of the new multilayer machines will be in place well before the seasonal demand peak occurs for fuel tanks from February to June.
“The location is ideal as it allows us to keep all of our operations, warehousing and offices in one campus,” said Agri-Industrial's business development director, Lori Schaefer-Weaton, in a news release.
Agri-Industrial now has more than 130 full-time employees. It claims to have 350 active molds.