WAPAKONETA, Ohio—The Ohio Department of Development has awarded a $125,000 grant to rubber and plastics product manufacturer Koneta Inc. to go toward buying machinery and equipment for a planned expansion at Koneta's Wapakoneta plant.
When completed, the expansion will add 83 jobs and retain Koneta's current work force of 139, according to both the company and the Department of Development. The estimated total cost of the project is $1.55 million.
A spokeswoman for Toronto-based KN Rubber L.L.C., the parent company of Koneta, said the expansion hasn't begun nor the Rapid Outreach Grant money received. “There's still a fair amount of paperwork to be done,” she said.
KN Rubber feels it is premature to talk about the project until after the first of the year, when the sequence of expansion has been decided, according to the spokeswoman. The expansion will take place over the next five to seven years.
A merger between Koneta Inc. and National Rubber Technologies Corp. of Toronto, KN Rubber claims to be North America's largest vertically integrated manufacturer of engineered industrial and automotive rubber and plastics products from both new and recycled materials.
KN Rubber said it has the capability to convert about 83 percent of the weight of a used tire into reusable raw materials using a proprietary process that separates rubber, steel and fiber.
The Koneta grant was one of 14 the Ohio Department of Development announced Oct. 25. The grants, worth more than $2.24 million in aggregate, will preserve a total of 3,651 jobs in Ohio and create 1,089 more, the agency said.