BURLINGTON, N.C. — Flexaust Co. Inc. is adding a new hose production plant in Burlington that is part of a strategic growth initiative by the firm that involves projects at its other facilities as well.
The hose and ducting manufacturer is leasing an existing 57,000-square-feet. factory in Burlington and plans to spend more than $3 million within the next two years for new equipment and infrastructure upgrades, according to Michael Harvey, Flexaust vice president and general manager.
Production is projected to begin sometime during the first quarter of 2020, he said. Flexaust plans to install five hose production lines, with employment expected to be close to 30 within two years and about 45-50 in five years.
Harvey said Flexaust is receiving some financial help from city, county and state sources for the Burlington project. That includes a re-use grant to help with infrastructure costs because the firm is occupying an older building, with the funds to be paid once the company reaches the job targets expected with the plant opening.
The hose maker decided to look at adding a facility in that region of the U.S. because it has good coverage of 75 percent of the U.S. through its existing facilities in Warsaw, Ind.; Amesbury, Mass.; and Las Vegas.
"It just made sense looking at putting something in the Southeast, with the customer base and the amount of product coming into this area so we could better service our customers," Harvey said.
Flexaust looked at North and South Carolina as well as Georgia, where it has a warehouse through one of its manufacturing representatives.
He said setting up shop in North Carolina made sense because it already has a sales office there, giving it some resources and a bit of infrastructure.
Michael O'Brien, Flexaust vice president of sales and marketing, said the new factory will allow the manufacturer to grow its relationships with the customer base it has in the region.
"In that part of the world, we have some dust collection customers, we have some shipyards and we have a better freight lane to Florida, which was kind of tough from Massachusetts," he said.
Harvey added that the facility is located just a mile from the I-40/I-85 exit, making shipping simpler. "We're in a good location," he said. "Logistically there's such a population boom going on in this part of the country, and you can get to a pretty good percentage of the population within two days' truck time."
The Burlington plant will manufacture products for the firm's Genesis, Flexaduct and Flexaust hose lines. O'Brien said not all products in those lines will be produced there, but some of the most popular products that the hose and ducting firm guarantees will ship within 24 hours. "Every facility now has inventory to support our distributor customer base with those items," he said.
The Genesis line, O'Brien said, is a polyethylene vacuum hose that serves the insulation blowing industry, the carpet cleaning industry, the car wash sector and industrial vacuum applications.
The Flexaduct line is extruded hoses made of polyurethane, thermoplastic rubber, PVC and polypropylene. It serves the dust collection, wood working, lawn and leaf, furniture and factory maintenance and repair operation sectors.
He said the Flexaust line is neoprene and coated nylon and polyester lines, along with some PVC-coated hose that services the general purpose, factory, AV and surface preparation markets.
Harvey said the new machinery is being built to equip the Burlington facility. Flexaust purchases the extruders but then custom-makes all the proprietary hose making and auxiliary items needed for the machinery, particularly at its machine shop at its headquarters complex in Warsaw.