Michigan injection molder Agape Plastics Inc. expanded its manufacturing space and added new equipment to serve sales growth driven largely by the robust automotive industry.
The company added 53,600 square feet to its existing facility in Grand Rapids, for a total of about 125,000 square feet of manufacturing space, said President David Cornelius. The company moved in and started to use the new space Feb. 1.
Five new Engel presses are set to arrive over the next four to six weeks, including a 1,650-ton press, which will be the company's largest, Cornelius said. Agape invested about $7.5 million in the new construction and machines.
Agape produces primarily automotive parts, including interior and fascia components, as well as consumer product components and other items. The company expects sales growth of 20 percent this year, with several new program launches in the coming months, Cornelius said.
When planning the expansion, Agape was concerned about traffic congestion and the ability for trucks and staff vehicles to safely exit the industrial park, even considering relocating. But Tallmadge Township and the Ottawa County Road Commission, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, were able to secure state funding to install a traffic signal at the intersection and add appropriate turn lanes.
“That was part of the agreement for us to stay here and put this addition on, is that we would get some sort of traffic light at the end of the road,” Cornelius said. “The situation trying to turn left out of here had become a near impossibility during a couple times a day of peak traffic, especially if you're behind a truck.”
The total construction cost for the road project is estimated at $371,434, with $297,147 coming from the state's Transportation Economic Development Fund and $74,287 from Tallmadge Township, according to a release from the Ottawa County Road Commission.
Agape also committed to adding 54 new jobs by 2018, the release indicates. The company currently employs 238, with 41 added in just the last year.
“We had quite a bit of growth last year, and we've been busting at the seams,” Cornelius said.