Titan Plastics Group adds 100 jobs in Clyde

Titan Plastics Group is creating 100 new full-time jobs and retaining 350 existing full-time jobs resulting from the company’s expansion of its custom injection molding facility in the City of Clyde.

Titan Plastics will make a fixed asset investment of at least $16.245 million including: $1.673 million in new construction, $486,000 in leasehold improvements, and $14.086 million in new and used machinery and equipment. The company estimates the project will be complete by mid 2007.

Asked what the driving force behind the project is, Greg M. Botner, president and CEO, Titan Plastics Group, stated: “Most of the capacity at the Clyde facility is devoted to manufacturing products for Whirlpool Corporation. Whirlpool’s very big in Ohio – in Clyde, Findlay, and Marion with its washer, dryer, and dishwasher assembly facilities-. We are adding capacity to support programs and initiatives that are under way at those facilities.”

The company’s relationship with Whirlpool has spanned over 40 years. Titan has a business unit that has daily interactions with Whirlpool Corporation. “It’s a team of administrative. commercial, and engineering / technical personnel that is an extension of the Clyde plant that resides in St. Joseph, Michigan, which services the Whirlpool purchasing and technical offices there,” Botner explained. “So we actually have a presence there that develops work for the Clyde facility.”

The company had 105 presses with a tonnage range of 50 to 1,500 before this project began in Clyde; the project will add 38 molding presses, primarily in the 300 to 1,450 ton range.

Asked why the Clyde plant was selected for this investment, Botner stated: “The Clyde facility over the last several years has been an exercise in lean manufacturing and efficiency. As we’ve been able to make that facility more efficient, we’ve been able to increase the capacities to support these programs. While there was thought given to expanding to another location, our continued efficiency work and exercises within this facility allowed us to keep this work there. That efficiency is what allows us to be competitive and support Whirlpool’s competitiveness in the marketplace.” The company considered incentive proposals from Michigan, Canada, and Mexico for this project.

The Clyde facility began implementing the Titan Operational Excellence (TOPEX) program in July 2001. This process involves the reduction of variation and the implementation of lean processes. The Clyde staff regularly engages in Kaizen events, which entail training, employees rearranging work cells, and the presentation of the benefits of the rearrangement. These Kaizen events last three to five days, during which time employees in a given area and Titan’s own Kaizen associates focus on reworking a given area for maximum efficiency.

“When you have a continuous improvement process, the employee associates and their openness to change are so critical,” stated Mike Leitert, vice president of operations. “That has significantly aided our capabilities in terms of evolving the facility to enable new business integration. We have a great employee base in the Clyde area.”

To select areas to focus on for the TOPEX program, Titan associates pick processes and/or specific jobs depending on cost, quality, and where the company thought it could gain the most savings. Using a twelve-month planning calendar, Titan is able to schedule downtime on a given machine.

Using lean principles, the new machines will be integrated into current operation. “We have moved in excess of 34 molding presses to facilitate the added space,” Leitert explained. “And as we integrate the new work cells, we take the lessons learned and amalgamate that into process flow, enabling an enhanced process.”

The 100 additional jobs will be added over the next three years. This year, 40 will be hired, 40 more will be hired in 2007, and then 20 in 2008.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 60 percent, 10-year job creation tax credit to Titan Plastics Group in connection with the project. As a part of the agreement, the authority is requiring the company to maintain operations at the project site in the City of Clyde for at least 20 years. The tax credit will begin January 2006 and end in December 2015.

The City of Clyde is also providing local support for this project. Leitert stressed the importance of the assistance provided by Dick Dagg and Dan Weaver of Clydescope, the economic development corporation for Clyde, Ohio.

“We have also been working aggressively with the city to offset some of the significant increases that we’ve seen relative to electrical power over the last six to eight months,” stated Botner. “Obviously this is a very big factor; it was an unplanned cost in our expansion and it could prove to be prohibitive going forward if we can’t arrest some of these costs, such as electrical power and the continuing high cost of workman’s compensation in the area. As well as healthcare, which is a national issue.”

Titan Plastics, a custom plastics processor, was formed after the merger of Plastic Engineered Components of Lincolnshire, Illinois and Wollin Products of Stevensville, Michigan. It offers a range of design and production capabilities from its six facilities. Titan serves such markets as home appliances, automotive, power equipment, and electrical / electronic controls. Wollin Products started the Clyde plant in 1988, at which time it was a 45,000 square foot building. Since that time, the facility has grown to 210,000 square feet, Titan’s largest plant. The current expansion will add 46,000 square feet. The general contractor for this part of the project will be named in the third quarter of this year.

As a components manufacturer, Titan will follow its customers’ lead for future expansion in Clyde. “We do plan for future growth,” stated Botner. “We are optimistic about the future of our major customer. Whirlpool Corporation. We have a strong belief in what they do and their capabilities in the marketplace.”

In related news, Titan recently formed a joint venture called Titan-ETI with ElecTech International, a Chinese small appliance manufacturer. The JV opened a facility in Zhuhai, China. “Right now we produce business equipment parts and home electronic parts,” stated Botner, “but we are looking at doing appliance and automotive products in that facility.”

Copyright Telex Communications, Inc. Jan 01, 2006

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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