ANDERSON, S.C.—Unaflex Inc. is adding onto its manufacturing plant in Anderson to support growth both in its hose and expansion joint businesses.
The firm is in the process of constructing a 5,000-sq.-ft. addition to the factory that will bring the total footprint of the facility close to 180,000 square feet, according to Sales Manager Bobby Buchanan. Construction is underway—it was delayed some by the recent storms that hit South Carolina—and is still on schedule to be complete by the beginning of the year.
As part of its expansion, Unaflex already has installed a new mixing line that includes a bonding and a drop mill that will triple the firm's existing mixing capacity. Buchanan said the rubber product maker mixes close to 75 percent of its own rubber, with the rest purchased from outside compounders.
Early in 2016, after the addition is in place, Unaflex will install a new industrial hose line to provide increased production of hoses with internal diameters of 11/2 to 8 inches in 100-foot lengths. That line will come onstream during the first quarter of next year. The hoses will be aimed at the air, water, petroleum, chemical, food grade and material handling industries.
Investment in the expansion project wasn't revealed.
“The big selling feature is that we can do the 100-foot lengths,” Buchanan said. The line includes 100-foot mandrels and a vulcanizer longer than 100 feet, something he said very few companies can do.
With the move, Unaflex is looking to bring more of this type hose production back to the U.S. by being able to offer faster delivery.
“We're hoping manufacturing is coming back to the U.S., and we want to be on the top of the wave instead of the bottom,” he said. “We'll go after new customers and enhance the lines of existing customers.”