Auto interiors specialist Mitchell Plastics is constructing a new technical center and headquarters in Kitchener, Ontario.
“We've reached a critical mass and need to expand,” said Peter Gibb, vice president of sales and marketing, in a phone interview. “We need to consolidate functions in our headquarters, which we have outgrown.”
Mitchell is building a 65,000-square-foot facility next to its current headquarters and expects to complete it in early 2017.
“We will use the new center as an incubator for technology and innovation,” Gibb added. The firm will still need the current building on Washburn Drive after some operations are consolidated in the new facility.
The project should create 40 new jobs over the next few years. Mitchell now employs more than 2,200 at several factories in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario; Alabama, Indiana and Mexico. It also runs sales offices in Troy, Mich., and Germany.
Gibb said his firm only makes functional and decorative auto interior parts, such as ducts, door panels, and overhead electronics/lighting systems. As a Tier 1 supplier it assembles the components for many of its jobs and it is striving to do more. Components are molded from polypropylene and ABS and polymer blends.
“We want to be a full console supplier,” Gibb stressed. Most molding programs are interchangeable among Mitchell's various plants.
Mitchell counts about 25 design and engineering employees in Kitchener and Troy. and this is sure to rise, but by how much depends on what new work the company captures.
Mitchell is owned by the company's CEO, Joe D'Angelo. The business was founded in 1997 as Ultra Manufacturing Ltd. Ultra bought Mitchell in 2001 and has kept the name to capitalize on its goodwill. Mitchell's injection molding presses range from 40 to 3,000 tons and some are set up for two-shot molding. The firm also uses extensive in-house paint operations for many of its components.
Mitchell expanded into Mexico in spring 2014 by setting up a manufacturing operation in Querétaro. That project followed Mitchell's expansion into Indiana earlier in the year.