Falcon Plastics Inc. is growing again, this time with plans for a 20,000 square foot expansion at its Lexington, Tennessee facility in response to increasing sales and significant customer growth projections.
The injection and blow molder recently broke ground for the $ 750,000 that is expected to be completed this summer. The warehouse expansion will bring the total plant area to 70,000 square feet and free up space on the manufacturing floor for Falcon to install additional equipment – initially at least one 720-ton Toshiba transfer press and possibly two, said Sales Director Heather Quail.
The company is also considering expanding the site into blow molding, possibly with a machine from Magic North America, a unit of Magic MP SpA of Monza, Italy.
These plans are all part of what the company calls Lexington’s first phase of expansion. Falcon is currently on the hunt for an indefinite number of employees and will require more people and machines in Phases two and three, which will take place in 2022 and 2023 as needed, Quail said in a phone interview on April 30.
The Brookings, SD-based company has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic well thanks to its diverse customer base, she said. The Lexington plant operates primarily in the construction, industrial, and automotive markets.
“The markets that were stronger have carried us through COVID. We have seen markets such as the automotive industry decline for months. We would have been in big trouble if we hadn’t had a diverse market mix in Lexington, ”she added.
And now the auto industry is making a strong comeback, helping the Lexington plant exceed its previous sales forecasts. The company expects sales of $ 17 million in 2021.
The problems now are finding qualified workers and dealing with material shortages, said Quail. “Material prices have increased dramatically,” she said, citing several higher powers and extended lead times. “We are also seeing increasing customer demand. We actually handled a large part of the material bottlenecks through accelerated deliveries and advance planning. “
In addition to the Lexington facility, Falcon has facilities in Brookings and Madison, SD. A few years ago the Madison plant was expanded. The 2019 acquisition of custom injection moulder Poly-Cast Inc. gave Falcon its fourth facility in Tigard, Oregon, and a 40 percent stake in a facility in Suzhou, China. In addition to automotive / industry and construction, the markets also include electronics, medical, consumer and sporting goods.
Overall, Falcon expects sales in North America this year to be approximately $ 50 million, of which $ 40.8 million will be from injection molding and $ 5.1 million from blow molding. The company, which employs around 300 people, also carries out its own toolmaking and processing of ethylene vinyl acetate foam (EVA).
Falcon was founded in 1975 by Don Bender. He and his wife Carol both died in early 2020. Today, the company is a third generation family business run by Chairman Guy Bender, CEO Jay Bender, President Jenn (Bender) Barlund and Executive Vice President Kyle Bender.