PLYMOUTH – Locally-owned Plymouth Foam this week completed a 115,000 square foot addition, effectively doubling the size of its manufacturing facility as it expands into new foam products.
Construction on the addition began in April after the company announced its expansion into Engineered Particle Foams, a strong, durable foam heavily utilized in the automotive industry.
The addition will give the business room for warehouse storage as well as the future ability to grow manufacturing capabilities for the developing new foam market.
“It takes us beyond the foundational foams, which we’ve been into since we started, and moves us into some other foams that are higher value, higher cost, more permanent in structure and takes us into more markets,” David Bolland, President and CEO of Plymouth Foam, said.
To celebrate the milestone, Plymouth Foam will be hosting an open house with tours of the facility from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. A ribbon cutting at the expanded facility, located at 1800 Sunset Drive, Plymouth, will take place at 12:15 p.m.
“We’ll have fun and enjoy the space before filling it up,” Bolland said.
Along with the expansion, Plymouth Foam currently has 17 manufacturing positions open and will be holding a job fair from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The jobs, posted on plymouthfoam.com, are predominately second and third shift.
“They are light industrial jobs and we do training on the job,” Human Resources Manager Deb Develski said. “For people who are new to manufacturing, it is easy for us to train them and bring them up to speed.”
Plymouth Foam, founded in 1978, has two additional facilities in Becker, Minnesota, and Gnadenhutten, Ohio. The company produces insulation and foam products for the construction industry and other foam-based products, such as packaging and toy gliders.
“As we went through the recession we just accelerated moving into those areas,” Bolland said.
Three years ago, they started developing a relationship with a German company, Schaumaplast Group, which recently entered into a kind of partnership with Federal Foam in assisting the business in growing into the engineered foam product market. The German company, which has 10 years experience with engineered particle foam in Europe, invested in Plymouth Foam and is sharing technical knowledge with local engineers as they venture into the new space.
“EPF is a more technical particle foam. You need know-how to produce it,” Bernhard Hauck, CEO of Schaumaplast Group, said. “There is a learning curve, and we can bring in our know-how and help them start at a high-level here.”
With current operations already filling the Plymouth facility to capacity, Plymouth Foam needed to expand their footprint to provide space as they prepare to add manufacturing capability.
“When you have product that is 98 percent air, you need space,” Bollard laughed.
Plymouth Foam currently employs approximately 220 employees across its three sites, 150 of which are located in Plymouth.
Bolland said he is optimistic about the future of Engineered Particle Foam, and said the possibilities to expand into new markets with strong, lightweight material could eclipse the company’s current foam operations.
“As we move into the EPF area, we are embracing it as having the potential to eclipse what we’ve done with EPS,” he said. “It is possible that, some point in the future, we will have more volume of EPF coming out of this facility than EPS.”
Currently Plymouth Foam has one manufacturing press creating the new EPF product, but Bolland said the business could grow to support an additional press each of the next several years.
“It will be driven by the development of customers and markets,” he said, “but we’re prepared to expand and set our self up to get there.”
Reach reporter Phillip Bock at 920-453-5121, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @bockling on Twitter