Pineville, N.C.-based pipe extruder Ipex USA LLC invested $200 million into its headquarters to boost capacity and create a technological flagship described as "one of the most advanced plastics facilities in the manufacturing industry" by CEO Alex Mestres.
About 70 jobs also were created — with another 80 more expected in 2024 — at the facility, which will manufacture fittings for plumbing, electrical, industrial and municipal applications.
The new 200,000-square-foot injection molding plant features 60 electric presses, automation for sorting, labeling, counting, packing and assembly, and cloud connectivity.
The plant also is fully climate-controlled, uses energy-efficient lighting and is equipped with high efficiency machines to reduce the use of both electricity and water. Ipex officials expect to realize about $700,000 in operational savings annually.
The new plant layout is equipped to manufacture a range of products and will provide space for testing and prototyping new products and ideas.
"This facility is an important part of our North American growth strategy to expand our U.S. footprint and better serve our customers," Mestres said in a news release. "I am proud to share that our $200 million ... investment in this Pineville facility is Ipex's largest investment to date and is one of the most advanced plastics facilities in the manufacturing industry."
With $1.8 billion in related extrusion sales, Ipex is the fifth largest pipe, profile and tubing producer in North America, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
Ipex is part of Oakville, Ontario-based Ipex Group, an Aliaxis brand and company, that has 13 manufacturing facilities in North America, including three plants acquired in 2019 from Silver-Line Plastics Corp.
Ipex Group parent company, Brussels-based Aliaxis SA, tried to expand by acquisition earlier this year with a public pursuit of Finland's Uponor Oyj. Aliaxis officials said a deal would be mutually beneficial to offer a wider range of products to modernize water infrastructure while facing uncertainty in the building and construction markets.
However, Aliaxis walked after Switzerland-based Georg Fischer Ltd. emerged with a 2.1 billion euro ($2.26 billion) offer to buy the plastic pipe extruder.
In Pineville, Ipex has been growing for more than 20 years, starting with an extrusion plant and distribution facility and now reaching a footprint of five manufacturing sites and three distribution centers across North Carolina.
Ipex has created nearly 700 jobs in the region, including 150 at the new facility.
The company was awarded a Customized Training Grant from the state of North Carolina due to its continued growth in the Charlotte area. The $345,500 grant will be used to fund specialized training programs over the next two years by Central Piedmont Community College. The programs will provide Ipex employees with training in safety, continuous improvement, mechatronics, polymers and computers.
At a grand opening event for the plant, Ipex presented a local nonprofit group, She Built This City, with a donation of $25,000 for its workforce development programs. The organization serves youth, women and marginalized communities in the construction and manufacturing industry.
"Ipex's generous donation isn't just about funds; it's the key to unlocking a world of opportunity in trades for a passionate cohort of women," LaToya Faustin, executive director of the group, said in the release. "We're not just honored; we're on fire to amplify the presence of women in trades."