Structural foam molder 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics LLC has purchased Vantage Products Corp. and plans to expand into Vantage's former plant in Covington, Ga.
The project is expected to create 100 jobs over two years, and most of Vantage's staff will become 20/20 employees, 20/20 President Ron Ernsberger said in a May 6 telephone interview.
Vantage, founded in 1978, made polypropylene funeral service products such as burial vaults and graveliners. 20/20 will manufacture a variety of custom molded products, "but the only thing we sell is machine time," Ernsberger said.
The plant is already set up for structural foam molding, though Ernsberger said his firm plans $7 million in upgrades there, including new machines and wiring.
The equipment already housed there — one 300-ton and two 2,500-ton presses — will be joined by two machines for low-pressure molding with clamping forces of 1,500 and 750 tons, along with a new shredder/grinder. The company is pouring concrete bases for the existing machines and hopes to begin production this month.
But the star of the lineup will be a much-anticipated 8,000-ton Cincinnati Milacron press that Ernsberger expects to arrive in July. 20/20 had expected the machine last year for one of its two plants — its headquarters site in Holiday City, Ohio, or its facility in Bluffton, Ind. Now, after many delays, the machine is destined for Covington.
"We're very busy. We have the same problems the corner grocery or General Motors has," Ernsberger said, referring to supply-chain delays and the labor shortage.
"We had [resigned] ourselves to growing internally … but we're tickled to death to be moving into the Vantage facility in the South."
20/20 purchased the Vantage business and assets, but Ernsberger said he wants to divest the business. Still, most Vantage employees will now join 20/20 and Lisa Barlow, former vice president of Vantage Products, has been hired to manage the site.
"It's just a great time for 20/20 now," Ernsberger said. "Between now and the end of the year we'll have three new high-pressure and two new low-pressure machines. The 8,000-ton press will give us new capabilities. We'll be able to run multiple molds on that machine. That's a first."
20/20 employs more than 500 at its Ohio and Indiana plants making pallets, pool panels, floating dock systems, window wells and other products for the construction, leisure and consumer products markets.
"My two partners and I never in our wildest dreams anticipated the kind of growth we've had," he said.
When the Vantage facility became available, "we jumped on it," he added. "It's in an area [the South/Southeast] where we've wanted to expand."
20/20 is owned by Inteplast Group of Livingston, N.J. Plastics News ranks Inteplast as North America's largest film and sheet maker, with estimated 2021 sales of $3.15 billion.