PULASKI, Va.—Xaloy is returning barrel production to Pulaski.
Xaloy Holdings L.L.C. is moving its twin-barrel manufacturing operation from Austintown, Ohio, to Pulaski, with plans to rehire former employees, invest $1.75 million and ramp up as soon as possible.
Most operations in Pulaski had been relocated to Austintown in 2016 by the former owner, Westlake, Ohio-based Nordson Corp. The 100,000-sq.-ft. plant that sits on a 30-acre site had seven employees casting barrels.
Then, in February, Nordson sold the screws and barrels product line to Chicago-based private equity firm Altair Investments Inc. The new owners need capacity to meet increased demand across the board, particularly the building products end market.
Founded in 1929, Xaloy manufactures screws, barrels and components for injection molding and extrusion machinery at the two U.S. sites and Chonburi, Thailand. The Xaloy brand pioneered the use of bimetallic materials to minimize wear, boost output and improve quality.
In Pulaski, Xaloy will focus on twins barrels, which tend to be used for extrusion, while Austintown will focus on screws and single barrels, according to Andrew Brickman, an Altair partner.
"Our backlog is swelling and we're struggling to address it," Brickman said in a phone interview. "We couldn't scale in Ohio fast enough so we took a specialized line—twin barrels—and returned it to Pulaski."
Former Xaloy employees returned, too, to fill some of the 35 jobs created there in addition to the seven retained. Nearly all of the first 20 hires had worked at the Pulaski plant before, bringing decades of experience.
"They had all been at other jobs, but we were fortunate enough to tap into a solid core base of that talent pool again," Brickman said. "By redeploying the twin barrels to a work force that knows how to do them, we hope to bring in lead times and alleviate some of the stresses in Austintown."
The reunited Pulaski colleagues clicked right away.
"They were a team and there's a sense of getting back the band together. They work well together," Brickman said.
Pulaski officials like to see Xaloy growing there again because of its agile skilled work force.
"We applaud the dedication, loyalty and responsiveness of the citizens in the town who were formerly employed at the plant and were key factors in the decision-making process. The town of Pulaski is committed to fully supporting Xaloy as they restart operations and is excited for the future success generated from this catalyst," Pulaski Town Manager Darlene Burcham said in a news release.
The Pulaski expansion was contingent on being able to hire the right people quickly, Xaloy CEO Kamal Tiwari said in the same release.
"To have a group of people who could bring this level of knowledge and experience and loyalty to the table was critical," he said.
Xaloy jobs are technical and new hires go through a lot of training.
"There's an art to it. You can't flip a switch and do it," Brickman said. "These products may be big and bulky heavy metal but they're very precise. Some products are measured in microns."
Xaloy is ramping up a third facility at the same time it is facing new competition in the U.S. Earlier this month, Maize, Kan.-based Reiloy USA said it had built a new 60,000-sq.-ft. barrel manufacturing facility with a test lab at its U.S. headquarters site.
The company, formerly Reiloy Westland Corp., also added two electrically induced centrifugal casting lines to manufacture more just-in-time inventory for blanks and barrels to be used primarily within the injection and extrusion markets.
Reiloy uses a proprietary casting process and alloy powder technology developed by parent company Reifenhaeuser Group in Troisdorf, Germany.
Xaloy is considered the inventor of bimetallic castings and has one of the largest screw and barrel design portfolios.
"Reiloy is a very good competitor," Brickman said. "They have their specialties and we have ours. With good competition, everyone raises their game. That's how we look at Reiloy."
The Xaloy product line generates more than $70 million in annual sales, Nordson officials had said.
The 194,000-sq.-ft. Austintown plant had about 200 employees when Altair bought it. Brickman said he wasn't sure about the current number of employees but the facility is hiring.
"We and the prior owner have a huge investment in Austintown and it continues," Brickman said. "We've got a main furnace there, a second furnace coming online and we're starting to bring up a third furnace.
"The issues we're facing are positive," Brickman added. "The economy is reopening and businesses need to refurbish equipment, bring new equipment online and add capacity."