NEWMARKET, Ontario—AirBoss of America Corp.'s custom mixing capabilities and capacity will be significantly expanded in 2019 when the firm completes expansions at its plants in Scotland Neck, N.C., and Kitchener, Ontario.
It plans to add a rubber compounding line with auxiliary systems in Scotland Neck, which will give it two mixing lines at the facility. According to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the company will invest about $5.2 million in the expansion project and add about 42 new jobs throughout 2019 at the site.
At the same time, the company's compounding plant in Kitchener, which spans about 1 million square feet, will expand its capabilities with the re-purposing of an existing—but virtually unused—line into a dedicated non-black line, AirBoss President Lisa Swartzman said.
Currently, production capacity at the Scotland Neck plant, which the firm has operated since 2004, has been filled, said Chris Bitsakakis, chief operating officer at AirBoss. The new rubber compounding line is expected to be fully operational by this July.
"We are increasing our production capacity in response to the incredible trust our customers have shown us in the past year as they filled our existing production capacity in our Scotland Neck facility," he said. He added that the expansion demonstrates the company's continued commitment to the region.
Once it's up and running, the new line will double the 150,000-sq.-ft. factory's current rubber mixing capacity, Swartzman said.
A performance-based grant of $125,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate the company's expansion in Scotland Neck, the governor's office said.
The fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Under terms of the grant, businesses receive no money up front and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment.
Swartzman said the rationale for the Scotland Neck expansion is twofold. The first was an increase in volume in 2018 combined with the growing number of primarily tire plants coming on line in the North Carolina region, which AirBoss intends to continue to service.
"Secondly, Scotland Neck currently has only one mixing line," she said, "so adding some redundancy and backup is the prudent thing to do as we move forward."
In Kitchener, the company intends to further diversify its operation and continue to expand its business with the re-dedication of the little used compounding line into a non-black line, which it previously lacked.
"It makes sense to add a non-black mixing line that will better serve the specialty compound market," Swartzman said. The new line is expected to be up and running in March.