By Frank Esposito, Plastic News Staff
Winona, Minnesota -- Composite materials maker PlastiComp llc has purchased a 75 000-sq.-ft (6968 sq.m) building in Winona, which eventually will serve as the firm's headquarters and main manufacturing site.
In an 11 Aug phone interview, PlastiComp ceo Steve Bowen said that the business will move from its existing 30 000-sq.ft (2787 sq.m) site in Winona -- about a kilometre away -- by the end of the year.
PlastiComp had been leasing part of the larger building from its owner -- Minnesota State College -- for several years. The college now will rent a small part of the building from Plasticomp to use as office space, Bowen said. No purchase price was disclosed.
A new extrusion line will be installed in the larger building by the end of the year. PlastiComp will continue to operate three lines at its original site. As many as five lines eventually will be installed at the larger building, added Bowen, who also is the firm's majority owner.
In addition to composite production, PlastiComp does compression moulding work on a contract basis, using its Pushtrusion-brand technology.
The move is needed because of strong growth at the firm. In the first half of 2011, PlastiComp already had matched its sales total for all of 2010, Bowen said. He added that he expects full-year 2011 sales to be double that of 2010 - which already had doubled from 2009. Bowen declined to provide specific sales figures for the privately held firm.
PlastiComp has achieved this growth during challenging economic times by focusing on metal-replacement opportunities outside of the automotive market, Bowen said. The firm has done work with carbon-fibre-filled grades of composites based on nylon and thermoplastic polyurethanes for gear cases and numerous other industrial uses.
PlastiComp materials additionally have found a home in the sports and leisure market. One of the firm's carbon-fibre materials also has been used in airplane seating for a major airline.