Anaheim, Calif. — Mack Molding Co. is investing about $4.4 million to expand the large-part production capabilities of its Statesville, N.C., plant.
"The confidence and optimism in our customer base is palpable," Jeff Somple, Mack Molding president, said in a Feb. 6 interview during the UBM Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Anaheim.
The 125,000-square-foot Statesville facility will gain molding space through the relocation of warehousing to a nearby, recently redeveloped site. In addition, the plant will undergo three "bump outs" totaling 12,000 square feet for paint mixing, tool room storage and a finishing area to stage a mixture of products in different colors.
Bryan Campbell, president of the firm's Mack South division, is the onsite executive driving the changes.
Mack has ordered two Milacron hydraulic molding machines, one each of 1,300 and 500 tons, for two of eight newly available press bays in the factory. The other six bays will get processing equipment as needs require.
Currently, the Statesville plant operates 22 presses with clamping forces of 72-1,150 tons. The site employs 250 with an expectation of adding 50 positions in tooling, engineering, processing and other functions during 2018.
The plans calls for extension of existing overhead cranes of 15 and 10 tons in the molding area and another extension of a 15-ton crane in the tool room.
In January 2016, Mack added three acres to its Statesville footprint with a $330,000 purchase of a closed dance club.
In 2017, the local fire department burned the former nightclub in a controlled training process. Mack removed the debris and proceeded with construction of a 54,000-square-foot building for the new warehouse.
Some work in Mack South's pipeline involves big painted parts. The Statesville facility's biggest end markets are components for heavy-duty trucks, golf carts, all-terrain vehicles and lawn and garden equipment.
Mack South's other plant in Inman, S.C., added two injection molding machines during 2017 and now operates 23 presses of 950-4,000 tons.
The Mack North division employs 630 after adding 100 last year. Another 50 persons may be hired during 2018.
Mack North operations in Vermont operate 78 injection molding machines of 40-2,360 tons with 36 presses in the headquarters Arlington facility, 26 in a Cavendish plant and 16 in an East Arlington site.
Mack Molding is observing "a plastics renaissance" with significantly higher traffic on its website and evidence of some foreign production returning to U.S. processors, said Joan Magrath, vice president of sales and engineering.
She wondered if resin makers and material compounders can "keep up with the demand" with orders from plastics processors. "It is an exciting time," Magrath said.