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Located in Ashtabula, Ohio, the company hope that the 250,000 square foot production facility will produce a million finished doors per year, create over 100 new jobs directly, and bring economic benefits to suppliers and communities in Northeastern Ohio valued at about $100 million over the next three years.
At a time when manufacturers are looking east to build facilities in low-labour-cost countries, Plastpro Inc, has turned the tide by moving in the opposite direction. The company was founded in America 10 years ago, and has been importing doors from Taiwan. As the market for fibreglass doors has grown, the decision was made to serve the US market from a US manufacturing base.
Plastpro president Shirley Wang said “we wanted to be closer to our US customers and we selected Ohio because it has the skilled workers from the fibreglass industry. Fibreglass, or SMC, was given birth here.”
Plastpro is unique in the industry in being vertically integrated, making all its own door components. The new facility features integrated factory control technology that automates repetitive tasks to enable greater quality control, product consistency and manufacturing precision. Plastpro expects the Ashtabula plant to reduce delivery lead times by up to 75 percent and realize 300 to 400 percent greater productivity than traditional door manufacturing operations.
“We’re taking a proven product and assembling it in a unique and interesting way with the aid of an unprecedented level of automation,” said Wang. “Fibreglass door skins can be cut, weighed and prepared for assembly using robotics. The system is able to pick, place, and assemble the various parts and components, resulting in minimal waste of material.”
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