Precision plastic and silicone injection molding company Nolato Contour Inc. is finishing up a $5 million expansion project that will help create an estimated 75 jobs over the next three years in and around Baldwin, Wis.
The expansion will help the company increase its North American revenue and extend its market share. The expanded area broke ground in June 2021, and project completion is expected by the first quarter of 2022.
This expansion includes a 60,000-square-foot expansion of warehousing and production support for expanded medical product needs. The investment will support the production of diagnostic products and vaccine/drug manufacturing components. Nolato Contour produces and supplies plastic components and finished medical devices to medical and pharmaceutical OEMs throughout the U.S.
Planning began in fall 2020 as strategic customer demand increased beyond the company's current capacity, according to Nolato Contour President and Managing Director Russell Steele. With the expansion, the company will have roughly 200,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and office space.
Once that expansion is complete, the site will have six molding rooms, with five Class 7 and 8 clean rooms, along with controlled manufacturing space for thermoplastic, silicone and device assembly. The goal is to meet new incoming projects in the expanding diagnostics market segment, Steele said.
"We continue to expand in areas of high-volume precision molding and assembly," Steele said. "This growth primarily supports medical products in the diagnostics and drug delivery areas. Many great opportunities are available as the U.S. reassesses its manufacturing base."
Steele said that numerous segments had little to no support in the U.S., but medical products and related diagnostics are expected to grow and can be supported.
"For our part, we see [opportunities for growth] primarily in the diagnostic arena," Steele said.
Nolato Contour's focus on medical components and devices has led to rapid growth in sales and demand. The company expanded its current facility twice before, including 43,000-square-foot and 27,000-square-foot additions with added clean rooms, manufacturing room and warehouse space.
In addition to the 75 jobs expected to be created by the company's most recent expansion, an economic modeling study developed in part by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. estimates the project indirectly could generate 37 additional jobs in the region.
Those 112 new jobs are expected to generate $170,863 in state income tax revenue annually.
Nolato Contour secured up to $225,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years for the project. The actual amount of tax credits Nolato Contour will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment during that period.
This is the second award Nolato Contour has received from WEDC, according to David Callender, WEDC director of communications. In 2018, WEDC and Nolato Contour entered a contract to receive $250,000 in business tax credits for an expansion that created 62 jobs and $17.9 million in capital investments. That contract was completed earlier in 2021.
"The WEDC partnership has always been helpful in contributing resources for the jobs created," Steele said. "More significant is the great workforce in the area and the support of the local high schools, tech colleges and [local universities] that provide the education necessary to support the technical skills required."
The company first formed as Contour Plastics, with a goal to serve technically demanding customers. In 1993, Contour Plastics built and moved to a new facility at its current Baldwin location. In 2010, Contour Plastics was purchased by Nolato, a Swedish company that has facilities throughout Europe. Nolato AB is a publicly traded company with more than $1 billion in global revenues. Its business philosophy is decentralized management with collaboration to share best practices and support the needs of global customers, Steele said, meaning that Nolato Contour largely is run autonomously by leadership in Wisconsin.
Growth has continued even during the pandemic, Steele said, requiring the company to make some operational and strategic changes to meet changing customer demands brought on by COVID-19.
While Nolato does not disclose individual sales by unit, North America now comprises 13 percent of the company's total sales, Steele said.
Double-digit sales growth is likely for the parent company and possibly Nolato Contour in the coming years.