ACH Foam Technologies LLC will add a second facility in Fond du Lac, Wis., to manufacture expanded polystyrene for construction and packaging applications.
The pieces of a parcel puzzle recently fell into place for the Denver-based company, which serves a variety of end markets with everything from packaging peanuts and shipping containers to roof, wall and underslab insulation to geo-technical solutions for retaining walls, berms and green roofs.
ACH Foam has had a presence in Fond du Lac since 1985 and can no longer add on to its current location, Todd Huempfner, ACH vice president of operations, said in a telephone interview.
“We have 110,000 square feet at our current place and we're landlocked,” Huempfner said. “The future is now in terms of charting our course for growth.”
The company will shift some operations, including its lost foam casting process, into a 40,000-square-foot facility it is leasing at a different industrial district. Off-site storage of finished goods also will be consolidated under the new roof. The foam product manufacturer will invest $250,000 in capital improvements ahead of an early January 2015 move-in day, Huempfner said.
Lost foam casting uses an EPS pattern to make metal parts, often for original equipment manufacturers' engine blocks, heads and crankcases. One of ACH Foam's major customers is boat engine and outboard manufacturer Mercury Marine.
“Everything is growing a little,” Huempfner said of the foam maker's need to expand.
ACH Foam is seeing increased demand for its building and construction products, in particular. The company makes a variety of insulation panels called Foam-Control Plus that improve energy efficiency and moisture resistance from the frost line to the roof line.
“Foam-Control Plus for the perimeter and the underslab has been growing as you see commercial and residential building coming back,” Huempfner said.
Orders also are up for the company's related Geofoam products, which have strong but light weight qualities good for road beds, green roofs and bridge abutments.
“Wherever there are unstable soil conditions, it's an opportunity for Geofoam,” Huempfner said.
In addition, the company is seeing growth for the temperature-controlled coolers in its DuraTherm product line.
“That's also made in Wisconsin,” Huempfner said. “We have a large facility there. The plant represents 80 percent of the products we make. Outside of the heated film laminates and garage-door laminate components, we do pretty much everything here.”
ACH Foam plans to hire 15 more employees over the next two to three years in Fond du Lac.
The City Council there granted a property holding company exclusive purchase rights to land next to the facility ACH Foam is leasing in case the foam businesses needs more room to expand. The council approved an option agreement that will let TNT Property Holdings LLC buy two lots next to the building for $195,200 if the land is needed. The lots total 6.1 acres. TNT got a two-year option to buy the parcels as well as the right of first refusal on the land for the three following years.
ACH Foam has at least a five-year window to increase its space in the city.
“We're very excited they feel the economy is strong enough to support them and they're growing. That's always great for a community,” Fond du Lac Redevelopment Planner Dyann Benson said in a telephone interview.
ACH Foam has eight U.S. plant locations in Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Nevada and Utah in addition to Wisconsin.