Aurora, Ohio — Trelleborg AB's Sealing Profiles unit is looking to optimize its footprint in North America.
The firm, based in Trelleborg, Sweden, disclosed plans for a new 156,250-square-foot manufacturing hub in Aurora, which will consolidate four sites into one and bring about 165 employees together under one roof. The project is expected to be complete in October.
Smith McKee, managing director for Trelleborg's North American Sealing Profiles unit, said the greenfield site will be built on a 14.7-acre plot, giving Trelleborg additional space to expand further if business dictates.
Financial details were not disclosed.
"We've grown quite a bit over the last seven years since the economic downturn," McKee said. "We're running out of space. Also, just the complexity of having multiple buildings and moving people and product between those facilities makes it difficult to consider adding another building or adding onto any of our existing buildings. We just thought that the best alternative was to take all of those existing buildings and move them into a larger facility."
The Sealing Profiles unit also will be investing to expand its manufacturing site in Querétaro, Mexico, by 13,400 square feet and relocate one production line into the new space, creating six new jobs.
Focused on the automotive industry. McKee said there could be a need to put more production down there as business dictates.
"It's primarily to support our existing customer base in Mexico that's been looking for us to add local manufacturing to reduce some of the supply chain and transportation costs," McKee said. "Just like in the U.S., they have a buy local push to try to bring in products that are produced locally."
The new facility in Aurora will give the firm a chance to maximize production flow, improve efficiencies and reduce footprint complexity. The new location will bring together three manufacturing sites — in Streetsboro, Ohio; Bristol, Ind.; and Aurora — as well as an administrative office in Aurora.
The Ohio sites focus mainly on the construction industry with some automotive production. The Streetsboro factory is all rubber extrusion and employs about 65 people, while the Aurora facility deals with plastics extrusion and secondary fabrication operations with 52 employees. The administrative offices employ about 22.
Bristol produces both rubber and plastics extruded parts for the automotive industry. McKee said the firm intends to relocate all employees into the new Aurora site, giving all 26 in Bristol the option to relocate. Anyone who decides to move will also be given relocation support, Trelleborg said.
"We looked at a handful of different cities and even considered Indiana," McKee said. "We looked at available land and existing buildings, but after looking at what's available in both land and sites we determined that this was the best available."
The Sealing Profiles unit produces both rubber and plastics extruded profiles and tubing that go into sealing and damping applications. Trelleborg is seeing growth from both industries, and the expansion will give the firm the flexibility needed to grow with its customers.
While the size of the new facility is about the same as its current footprint combined, McKee said the new building will eliminate redundancies and warehouses, ultimately giving Trelleborg more room to work with.
"It's pretty exciting to see the production efficiencies we're going to gain in doing something from scratch rather than trying to fit something into an existing building," McKee said.