November 2, 2015 Updated 11/2/2015
GW Plastics Inc. will be breaking ground later this month on a major expansion of its Royalton, Vt., facility to accommodate its growing medical device business.
“We intend to invest over $ 10 million in real estate and machinery over the next three to five years in response to customer demand,” said Brenan Riehl, president and CEO of the Bethel, Vt.-based injection molder, in a phone interview.
The initial phase of the expansion will include 21,000 square feet of space, but the entire project will eventually scale up to 50,000 square feet. When the project is finished, the plant will cover 93,000 square feet.
Riehl said the expansion will boost GW’s thermoplastic and liquid silicone rubber injection molding and medical device contract assembly business. It also will include improved workforce training and development areas at the company’s technical and training center.
When the project is completed, it will include room for 30 more thermoplastic and LSR molding machines as well as an enlarged class 8 clean room for its GW Silicones affiliate.
Riehl said it was fitting that the expansion will start this year, as this is the company’s 60th anniversary, having started business in 1955.
“The relationship we have with the state of Vermont has helped foster great collaboration between the private and public sectors and that will help us all,” he said.
The state has helped with incentives for training and expansion, and it is expected to create about 70 jobs over five years. GW Plastics employs more than 300 people in Vermont, and more than 1,000 worldwide.
The company is working to build a pipeline of talent for its Vermont facilities, according to Riehl. GW’s School of Tech program brings busloads of high school students to the company to learn about advanced manufacturing. The company also provides scholarships to Vermont Technical College and incentives for its workers to take courses at the college.
He credited GW’s growth with working with customers in the health-care, automotive safety and consumer/industrial markets.
In the last year, GW Plastics has completed expansions at three of its facilities: Bethel; Tucson, Ariz.; and Dongguan, China. The company also plans to expand its San Antonio, Texas, facility in 2016.
GW also has a facility in Queretaro, Mexico.