Pipe and fittings maker Ipex USA LLC announced it will build another plant in Pineville, N.C. — this one a 200,000-square-foot facility for injection molding.
CEO Alex Mestres said via email Ipex will invest more than $100 million in what the company says will be its "technological flagship," making use of artificial intelligence, as well as automation for sorting, labeling, assembly, counting and packing.
Ipex's Pineville site already has injection molding, extrusion and distribution operations. When construction on the new building is complete, which should be in late 2022, the plants will have a total of almost 100 injection presses. The company operates machines with clamping forces of 100 to 2,500 tons, according to Travis Lutes, Ipex president and chief operating officer.
The company did not disclose how many presses it currently has, saying only that the project will increase production capacity "substantially." It did say it expects to hire 150 workers and the plant's advanced automation will call for technical, supervisory and quality-control workers. The building also will have room for testing and prototyping.
Operations are expected to be fully underway in early 2023.
Ipex, a subsidiary of Aliaxis SA of Brussels, makes fittings for plumbing, municipal, industrial and electrical uses. In addition to the Pineville plant, Ipex has five molding plants in Canada.
The company is a major player in the pipe industry, ranking No. 5 in Plastics News' recent survey of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, with estimated 2020 sales of $900 million.