LIGONIER, Ind.—BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc. will spend $1.1 million to move its Ligonier compression molding operations across town to a larger facility closed by Freudenberg and Co. K.G.'s Vibracoustic operation some time ago.
The move will triple the amount of space BRC has in Ligonier, according to Mike Meyer, BRC executive vice president. The new building has about 100,000 square feet, whereas the current facility consists of a 29,000-sq.-ft. main building and a 4,000-sq.-ft. auxiliary structure, Meyer said.
“We were totally out of space in our conventional molding operations,” he said. The old building is the oldest and smallest at BRC; it was the very first building opened by the father of current company owners Chuck and Cliff Chaffee when he founded the company in 1948, Meyer said.
When the elder Chaffee died in 1968, the building was sold, but bought back by the Chaffee brothers in 1988, he said.
BRC hired a sales manager for its industrial products business in September 2010 as a prelude to expanding that business. To be ready for the growth, the company needed more space, he said.
BRC expects to hire about 40 workers over the next three years for the facility, in addition to the 57 already in Ligonier, according to Meyer.
“That facility was available, and it allows us to stay in the area,” he said about the old Vibracoustic plant. He said he doesn't know precisely when Vibracoustic left it, but thinks it was a couple of years ago.
BRC will not take over any of the old Vibracoustic business from the plant, according to Meyer. “We were never in direct competition with them,” he said.
BRC will make the move to the facility in stages to allow for orderly recertification of its production equipment. “We'll move in a very controlled, methodical manner,” Meyer said. “By not being in a hurry, we can recertify on our own time.”
In addition to moving its current production equipment, BRC will buy some machinery from Freudenberg, according to Meyer. Some equipment is already in the new plant, while other machinery will be purchased from other Freudenberg facilities.