An injection molding company planning a manufacturing plant in Flint, Mich., might make a small impact on two of the city's current problems — jobs and a local surplus of used PET water bottles.
C3 Venture Flint LLC wants to set up an auto parts molding plant in Flint that could bring 380 jobs to the city hurt by a decades-long exodus of auto-related manufacturing. C3 also may recycle PET bottles that local residents are using while the city addresses lead contamination issues in its water system.
C3 plans to invest about $9.7 million in the new Flint operation destined to mold plastic auto interior components. The plant will assume work now being done in China, according to the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which announced the project July 26.
C3 is buying a 17.7-acre site in an industrial park where it will occupy an existing 19,600-square-foot manufacturing building and a 16,000-square-foot office.
C3 will install injection presses and tooling in the Flint plant beginning in September with production starting in October. Initially the operation will employ about 50. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded the project a $5.7 million performance-based loan. Potential sites in Indiana and California were also considered, but Flint's offer of support won the project.
“This is work currently being done in China and we're moving it to Flint,” said Bob Schaffer, C3 founder and chairman, in a news release issued by the local chamber of commerce.
“Flint is a manufacturing town,” Schaffer noted. “Manufacturing is embedded in Flint's heritage and the work ethic here is strong. For these reasons, you could say that Flint chose C3.”
A local newspaper report suggested Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric vehicle production, would be a major customer.
“Producing parts for zero-emission electric vehicles is central to our mission,” Schaffer explained in the news release. “Our drive to be good environmental stewards extends to our manufacturing process.”
The company's C3 name stands for clean air, clean water and clean soil.
C3 will take advantage of the owners' experience in automotive and real estate through sister companies IMS LLC, Schaffer Development LLC, China Tool and CT Automotive. The latter company has no relation to a global auto parts producer with the same name that has offices in the United Kingdom, United States and China, stressed an executive in the U.K. office. A local newspaper report erroneously provided a link to that company when it reported on the C3 Venture project.
“The investment approved today will bring up to 400 new jobs to Flint, in an innovative venture that turns recycling into auto parts,” stated Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in a news release. “The state will continue to support the city during its water recovery, and in addition will remain involved in long-term economic development.”
The city of Flint's water problems began in April 2014, when it switched its potable water source to the Flint River without adding chemicals to address the potential for lead to leach from pipes. Lead contamination was soon found and a spate of lawsuits and federal public health state of emergency was declared for Genesee County.
“We're actually going to recycle Flint's water bottles, which are accumulating at a mammoth rate right now,” C3 Venture CEO Bob Waun stated in a newspaper report.