Echo Engineering and Production Supplies Inc. plans to invest $2.4 million and create 60 jobs at two facilities in Michigan.
The facilities — one in Monroe and another nearby in Frenchtown Township — are about 40 minutes from downtown Detroit and house operations for the company's injection molding business.
In October 2017, Echo purchased Monroe-based injection molder Ammex Plastics LLC for an undisclosed amount. Ammex now operates under the company's umbrella as Echo Engineering and Production Supplies Inc., doing business as Ammex Plastics.
The injection molding business primarily serves the automotive industry and makes fluid routing, fastening, interior and suspension system components, including clips, mounts, fittings, isolators, bumpers and quick connects.
Echo CEO Kingdon Offenbacker said in a March 30 phone interview that the investment is largely driven by significant growth over the last decade, citing a more than 20 percent compound annual growth rate each year. The injection molding business has also been growing, he said.
"This year, Ammex will be growing over 30 percent," Offenbacker said. "To date, since we made the acquisition, in the first six months we've added 21 full-time positions, and we've already invested just over $1 million."
As part of the $2.4 million investment, Echo has installed three new 250-ton all-electric injection molding machines each equipped with robotics in fully automated production cells. Additional auxiliary equipment, such as hot runners, dryers and transformers, were also added to assist each production cell.
"The people [of Monroe] are so dedicated, and so what we're trying to really focus on is balancing automation and technology around our employees and … making sure they're aligned," he said.
Phase two of the investment includes an expansion of both facilities. Expansion plans and a construction timeline for the work are still being determined.
"We are running almost completely out of space," Offenbacker said.
"Like any business, our success has been fueled by our customers and our employees," he added. "We're just very fortunate to have both, so we're glad to be making a positive impact in Monroe and in Michigan."
Echo currently employs a total of 83 full-time workers at the two Michigan facilities.
The company received a $210,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Business Development Program, an incentive program offered from the Michigan Strategic fund in cooperation with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Echo Engineering is headquartered in Indianapolis and employs an estimated 200 workers. The company supplies rubber and plastic components, such as gaskets, O-rings, grommets, clips and charge port caps used in the automotive, heavy equipment and agriculture industries.