2011 WOOD 100: Plant Expansion

Preparing for the economy to pick up, wood products manufacturers stepped up the pace to take advantage of new opportunities. They are building new plants, expanding existing operations, or in some cases acquiring companies.

Kronotex usa Inc., Barnwell, SC — The laminate flooring manufacturer began a $45 million expansion last fall which was expected to add 225,000 square feet of additional warehouse space and new factory, administrative and sales offices. Expected to be completed this year, the expansion is projected to generate 40 new jobs and increase the company’s production capacity by 60% with the installation of a third set of high-speed laminating and profiling lines.

“The expansion of our Barnwell facility will enable us to produce a complete line of high-end laminate flooring products with improved design, which were previously only produced in the company’s European factories and imported by Kronotex USA,” Norm Voss, president and CEO said when announcing the expansion last October.

Kronotex first opened its U.S. manufacturing facility in 2005 and has the capability of producing both plank and tile flooring. The company is vertically integrated to manufacture almost all of the component parts of the finished product and implements a lean production process while manufacturing on a just-in-time basis. Kronotex‘s use of  a direct pressure laminate fusing system, for example, results in the entire press cycle taking approximately 18 seconds to complete for standard products. And for increased productivity along the Homag high speed profiling line, the company has implemented robots to turn the magazine of planks, thus enabling quick and easy profiling on the two short edges without human handling. (Kronotex was featured in the February 2009 issue of Wood & Wood Products.)  

Kronotex USA produces eight collections currently, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the KronoGroup Switzerland.

RECENT EXPANSIONS

Drawer Box Associates, Barnesville, GA
In January 2010, the dovetail drawer box manufacturer moved into a new 68,000-square-foot facility and sales increased accordingly, rising 28% over 2009. Aiding the productivity, the company has implemented lean manufacturing as well as purchased new equipment, says Kelvin Clements, owner.

Southern Motion, Pontotoc, MS
The reclining furniture manufacturer invested $7 million on a new 180,000-square-foot production facility, located adjacent to its current operation. According to the Mississippi Development Authority, the expansion is projected to create a minimum of 200 jobs, with a potential of 400 jobs over the next five years.

American Atelier, Allentown, PA
The custom commercial furniture manufacturer expanded its operations into a 250,000-square-foot facility. American Atelier says this will allow it to continue JIT deliveries of 8 to 10 weeks on product orders.

Amoskeag Woodworking, Colchester, VT
One of Vermont’s largest cabinet and millworking shops, Amoskeag announced in November that it had acquired Morse Hardwoods & Millwork Co. Plans called for Amoskeag to move all manufacturing and warehousing to Morse’s Fairfax facility, while maintaining the Morse line.

Southern Finishing, Martinsville, VA
In December the prefinished components manufacturer announced plans to invest $1.7 million to consolidate its eastern U.S. operations to Martinsville, saving 137 jobs and creating 67 new jobs. The company occupies the former Hooker Mfg. building.  

idX, St. Louis, MO
In 2010 the store fixture manufacturer opened an office in California to better serve clients. In March 2011 idX acquired the assets of Lancaster Industries, a Cuero, TX-based fixture manufacturer, then announced plans to expand the facility, a move projected to create 125 jobs and pump $5.1 million into the Texas economy.

Kimball Hospitality/Kimball Intl, Jasper, IN
The hospitality furniture maker opened a new manufacturing facility in Martinsville, VA. The 60,000-square-foot facility represented a $1 million investment and was projected to create 67 jobs.  

Valendrawers, Lexington, NC
Late last year the wood drawer and door manufacturer announced plans to expand its U.S. manufacturing, including a $1.2 million investment for door production.  

Miller Cabinet Co. LLC, Plain City, OH
The company was awarded a 45% job creation tax credit by the State of Ohio Department of Development based on its planned expansion of 11,500 square feet, and the addition of 53 workers.  

Lane Furniture, Tupelo, MS
Last March, the residential furniture manufacturer announced the expansion of two locations to accommodate an increase in production. The expansions were projected to add a total of 186 new jobs. 

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