Reusable packaging maker Orbis Corp. is opening a new design and prototyping center in South Carolina.
The OrbiShield Design Center is 7,700 square feet in Spartanburg and puts company employees closer to clients in the Southeast, said Sean Momsen, market manager for Orbis custom products.
“It's really that collaboration facility. You can talk with that sales engineer, talk with designers and talk with sample makers,” Momsen said. “All three of those functions will be under one roof.”
Orbis is replicating an existing design center in Madison Heights, Mich., near Detroit.
“This is our fourth facility, but no production will be run out of this facility. This will be strictly prototyping and design and collaboration,” he said.
Two other design locations are located at Orbis manufacturing plants in Mentor, Ohio, and Silao, Mexico.
“Getting that intimacy and rapid response and that collaboration space close to where they are at is key,” he said.
While there are no concrete plans to create even more design centers, Momsen expects additional locations eventually will be developed in different geographies down the road. “I do see more facilities in our future like this.”
Creating a design center allows customers to gain a hands-on understanding of how their parts and products will interact with Orbis reusable packaging.
“It's really being there and experiencing what you are touching and feeling those materials to see if this is going to be something that will last. Seeing and feeling the difference,” he said.
Orbis selected Spartanburg as a way to be closer to automakers and their parts suppliers.
“Just the automotive growth that we're seeing down there is huge. We already have a lot of key customers in that region. Just being closer to them and also finding new customers in that region gives a lot of different collaboration capabilities,” Momsen said.
“Being located closely to those growing customers and that growing customer base in the Southeast is going to be key for us going forward,” he said.
OrbiShield is the company's line of custom dunnage products that use foam, sheet, specialty and fabric materials to create protective packaging. OrbiShield products can be integrated with reusable packaging products such as totes and containers.
“Expanding OrbiShield facilities beyond the Midwest has been in the works for some time. We wanted to make OrbisShield samples easier to access in a timely manner while enhancing the design and customer experience,” said Aman Sangha, product manager for Orbis, in a statement.
Dunnage designs with OrbiShield include custom die-cut plastic corrugated divider sets, saw-cut foam inserts, pigeon hole dunnage, custom thermoformed trays, sewn fabric bags, foam rails and molded foam inserts, the company said on its website.
Meanwhile, Orbis also is continuing work on a possible relocation of its Mentor facility. The company is looking to move within the city to a former Caterpillar forklift manufacturing site. The move would give Orbis about 270,000 square feet of space and allow the company to consolidate production and warehousing into a single location. Orbis relies on off-site storage right now.
“We're trying to consolidate and get everything under one roof to be a lot more efficient,” Momsen said. “It's a facility that really meets our needs from a material flow standpoint.”
The current Orbis manufacturing site in Mentor is about 115,000 square feet, he said.