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September 18. 2013 9:36PM

GI Plastek expansion is in the works


GI Plastek worker Tina Thyng of Wolfeboro gets ready to trim plastic molded parts as they come off the company’s largest injection molding presses. (Larissa Mulkern)

WOLFEBORO — Construction is under way at the GI Plastek manufacturing plant on Wickers Drive where a $3 million building expansion project broke ground earlier this summer.

Rick Collopy, the vice president of sales and business development, said the plant’s current 56,000 manufacturing floor will increase to 91,000 square feet, allowing for the eventual addition of up to eight state-of-the-art medium and large injection molding presses. The warehouse floor will also be extended and there will be a streamlined redesign of the production line.

GI Plastek Wolfeboro is a custom molder of structural foam and injection molded plastic parts. The company manufactures a myriad of products and product parts, everything from kayak paddles to parts for medical diagnostic equipment and stadium seating, according to Collopy. The company also offers secondary finishing operations that include painting, shielding, silk screening, inserting and bonding He said the company’s customer base is predominantly located in the eastern U.S. Collopy said GI Plastek has the largest injection molding press in the state, with the capacity to create parts as large as five feet by 40 inches.

A portion of the new plant will be added to the existing front of the building where the current parking lot is located, with new space added to the other side of the manufacturing floor. The renovation/expansion project will add four more shipping docks.

Currently, GI Plastek Wolfeboro employs 96 people, and while there are no immediate plans to hire for additional positions, GI Plastek President Daniel Mills said the expansion will bring more opportunities.

“I am very excited about the opportunity that this expansion will bring and how it will transform the way that we work and how much more competitive we will become,” Mills said.

In the past, GI Plastek received assistance with financing from the Wolfeboro-based Wentworth Economic Development Corporation. Collopy said the agency has been cheering the company on ever since. Most recently, company officials received training in “Lean Manufacturing,” through the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Collopy said Lean traning methods helps to streamline manufacturing operations, reduce waste and save time. By applying these new methods, the company shaved 40 percent off the time it took to assemble molds.

The project should be finished by the end of the first quarter of 2014. Budel Construction of Rochester is the contractor for the project, and Norway Plains Associates Inc. in Rochester provided the engineering ands surveying for the project.

lmulkern@newstote.com