Thermoset plastics firm Mar-Bal Inc. plans to buy a 5-acre parcel that will allow the firm to expand its compounding operations in Painesville, Ohio.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based Mar-Bal will pay the city of Painesville a token sum for the vacant parcel, which is adjacent to a building that the firm recently occupied.
Mar-Bal started making compounds in Painesville in January and reached full production in April, President Scott Balogh said in a June 21 telephone interview. A grand opening for the site will be held in August.
"Our compounding operations are state of the art," Balogh said. "Our guys have done a great job."
The Painesville building covers 110,700 square feet and previously was occupied by injection molder Core Systems, which closed in 2013. Mar-Bal has hired many former Core employees.
Acquiring the 5-acre parcel will allow Mar-Bal to expand the building within the next two to three years, Balogh said. That expansion will add 20,000- 35,000 square feet. Mar-Bal now employs 130 in Painesville and could add another 70-80 to that total through the expansion, Balogh added.
Mar-Bal already has moved compounding work from Chagrin Falls to Painesville, which is about 30 miles away. The firm's headquarters and R&D lab will remain in Chagrin Falls.
Compounding work done in Cuba, Mo., also will be moved to Painesville this year. Molding and decorating work will continue at the Missouri site.
Mar-Bal is investing about $15 million overall on the move to Painesville. It's part of an overall strategy change in which Mar-Bal will sell more of its composites to outside firms, in addition to internal use.
The move also will almost double the space that Mar-Bal had for manufacturing in Chagrin Falls and will double its annual production capacity company-wide for bulk molding compounds. The firm plans to market its compounds under the new Altraset trade name.
Mar-Bal is receiving financial support for the project from the JobsOhio nonprofit group and from the city. The firm also installed two new injection molding machines in Painesville in late 2017, increasing its overall molding capacity by about 10 percent.
So far in 2018, Mar-Bal has seen market growth from "a resurgence in industrial and electrical products," according to Balogh. "We're seeing a lot of activity there that we haven't seen for a long time," he said.
Mar-Bal custom molds thermosets and molds proprietary electrical standoff insulators under the Glastic and Mar-Bal tradenames. The products are based on thermoset polyester and contain flame retardants and track-resistant glass fibers.
Jim Balogh, Scott's father, founded Mar-Bal in 1970 in Cleveland. In addition to Ohio and Missouri, Mar-Bal has manufacturing operations in Dublin, Va.; and Taizhou, China. The firm also has an Asia sales office in Shanghai.
Mar-Bal employs 475 worldwide and posted sales of around $65 million in 2017.