Graham Engineering Corp. is moving its extrusion operation in Ashaway, R.I., to York, Pa., where it also is relocating its American Kuhne brand.
Three months ago, a company official talked about the need to expand the 26,000-square-foot factory that it acquired in Ashaway in 2012 along with the brand. However, on Oct. 9 Graham announced the facility will be closed and many of the 40 employees there will have the opportunity to relocate to York, which is 330 miles away.
“I will not know the numbers for some weeks now because people need time to evaluate the offers that have been extended,” Graham Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gina Haines said in a phone interview.
The extrusion business has been growing rapidly and the decision to move it to York is a “logical next step,” Graham CEO David Schroeder said in a news release.
Graham, which designs and makes wheel and industrial extrusion blow molding equipment, had expanded the York site by 35 percent to 150,000 square feet in 2013, when it integrated its Welex sheet line business there from Greenville, N.C.
York was considered the blow molding center and Ashaway the extrusion center until now.
“Capacity constraints in our Ashaway extruder center of excellence have the potential to impact future lead times, one of our competitive advantages,” Ashaway General Manager Dan Schilke said in the news release.
In York, the extrusion center will have room to grow, he added.
“Expanding our manufacturing footprint enables us to remain nimble and responsive to our customers,” Schilke said.
Graham officials say the relocation of the Ashaway operation to York will extend into 2016 so it can be done in a structured way that meets all commitments to customers
In York, Graham says it will continue to make capital improvements to accommodate growth there. After 55 years as a manufacturing plant, the facility has evolved to include a product development and testing laboratory, test and development lines, large machinery capabilities and meet international standards of excellence.
The addition of the Ashaway business continues the evolution, according to Bob Deitrick, Graham's vice president of global sales.
“This move enables an even greater level of knowledge-sharing, cooperation, and cross-functional collaboration under one roof, benefiting our customers not only in time to market, but also with enhanced custom design, testing, training and run-off capabilities,” Deitrick said in the press release.
Graham will maintain a satellite office near the Ashaway location.
Graham Group is a privately held company based in York. In 2012, the group acquired the majority interest in American Kuhne, which provides engineering solutions for plastics, rubber and silicone extrusion for medical, wire, cable, pipe and profile applications.
In 2013, Graham Engineering acquired Welex, which specializes in coextrusion, multi-layer methods and barrier lines.