ORLANDO, FLA. — As crowds gathered around their 3-D-printed Shelby Cobra sports car, Techmer PM officials revealed that the firm will open a new materials plant in the Aston, Pa., area.
The new 80,000-square-foot plant will be “a multimillion-dollar investment,” Techmer Chairman and CEO John Manuck said at NPE 2015 in Orlando.
Clinton, Tenn.-based Techmer bought TP Composites of Aston in 2013, but Manuck said a new plant is needed in the area because the existing site “didn't meet our standards.”
The existing location covers 50,000 square feet, but is spread over three buildings. Techmer is keeping the business in the Aston area in order to retain employees, President Ryan Howley said.
Work to outfit the new site will begin by mid-year, with production set to start in early 2016. The existing Aston site will be closed when the new one opens. The move also will allow Techmer to add 10 jobs in the area, bringing its total there to 75.
The Shelby Cobra on display at the Techmer booth also was drawing a steady stream of attention. The car was 3-D-printed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., not far from Techmer's site in Clinton. The vehicle uses Techmer carbon-fiber materials made there.
The same car was on display Jan. 9 when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Techmer's Clinton plant while making a swing through the area to promote manufacturing. Techmer has worked with ORNL on several projects, and ORNL nominated Techmer for the presidential visit. The car later that month was featured at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Howley said the collaboration with ORNL on the Shelby Cobra “gives you an idea of what makes our company different.”
“It shows how our supply chain works,” he added. “We worked with Oak Ridge and the machinery companies to make something that was one of the first of its kind.”
Techmer — a maker of color and additive concentrates — has seven manufacturing plants in North America and has annual sales of more than $200 million. Markets for Techmer's products include packaging, medical and automotive. The firm ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers.
In May, Techmer raised the starting pay for its Clinton manufacturing employees to $11 an hour as part of a companywide value system that ensures workers receive a compensation package that rewards effort, commitment and results. Earlier in 2014, Techmer ranked third on Plastics News' Best Places to Work list.