Custom injection molder Imperial Plastics Inc. is going bigger with its plan to set up another manufacturing plant in Minnesota.
Imperial has nearly doubled the floor space of a planned operation in Mankato and is doubling the amount it will invest in the program.
“We see increased opportunity with current and prospective customers and we want room to grow with them,” owner and President Norman Oberto said in a telephone interview.
The firm is capturing business in diverse markets, Oberto added.
Imperial broke ground on the facility on Aug. 1 and expects to move into the new plant by the end of the year.
Oberto said the Mankato operation will be more efficient and able to attract customers “wanting to work with us.” Imperial has no plan to close other facilities.
Imperial said late last year it planned to build a 69,120-square-foot factory in Mankato, but has since revised the new plant's floor space to more than 124,000 square feet.
The Mankato business initially will employ 60 but Oberto expects staff levels will reach about 125 in a few years. The expansion plan has convinced local government to support Imperial's endeavor with up to $722,000 in tax-increment financing and a $300,000 low-interest loan.
Mankato will be Imperial's fourth manufacturing location in Minnesota. It runs two in its headquarters city of Lakeville and another in Kasota, the Rolco Inc. business that it bought in August 2012. Rolco brought new customers to Imperial and added capabilities such as multi-shot molding and in-mold labeling.
Imperial runs 121 injection presses ranging from 42 to 950 tons, as well as three structural foam machines and a blow molder. It also does automated assembly.
Major markets include consumer, industrial, medical, recreational, auto and plumbing.
The company was established in 1968 and employs about 525. Oberto became its owner 17 years ago.