Henderson, Nev. — Entek Manufacturing Inc. is entering a new phase of growth with a $15 million machining plant opening near Las Vegas, planning underway for a $1.5 billion lithium-ion battery film separator plant in Indiana — the first of two separator plants — and new product lines for both existing and acquired businesses in process.
But in a sense, a big element of that growth plan is rooted in shortages: a need for skilled labor, a national need for electric vehicle manufacturing infrastructure and demands from both Entek and its customers for larger extruders and equipment.
For a company that marks its foundation on its ability to build its own barrels and screws because it had problems sourcing a regular supply of them from a supplier, all those expansions to fill those needs make sense.
"Entek has been very fortunate to hook our wagon, if you will, to some of the largest compounders in the world. And we recognize that we want to grow with them, and a lot of our customers are growing," said Linda Campbell, Entek vice president of extrusion sales, during a Feb. 10 event at the company's new 100,000-square-foot facility in Henderson. "So in order to keep capacity going, we need to expand."
To expand, the company needs machinists, and there's a shortage of available labor in its hometown of Lebanon, Ore. So Entek worked with consultants to survey the best location to find skilled workers and landed on the Las Vegas area. It ended up leasing an existing facility in Henderson — previously home to a firearms company — so it could move quickly, said CEO Larry Keith.