Eastern Oklahoma custom injection molder Kenco Plastics Inc. is shutting down.
The firm advised employees on April 26 that “due to the loss of our customer base, Kenco will cease operations within the next few weeks.”
Employees are advised in the letter that the firm’s human resources department is available to advise on the shutdown process. A search of Oklahoma’s Worker Training and Adjustment Notification database found no notification from the company about the closure. Local media reports indicated about 200 workers are affected at the Poteau, Okla., operation, which has been in business for more than 20 years. Products molded there included cosmetic and interior parts for air conditioning units, fans for electric motors and boat seat parts.
Kenco President Larry Henry was not immediately available to explain Kenco’s demise.
A search of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration turned up allegations of safety violations at Kenco. In late 2014 Kenco was fined $ 6,163 for three serious violations that could have exposed up to 50 workers to danger. In late 2015 Kenco was fined $ 3,000 for a serious violation that could have affected 15 people.
Poteau is a community of more than 8,500 people. It is 30 miles from Fort Smith, Ark., where heating, cooling and air conditioning appliances majors Trane Inc. and Rheem Manufacturing Co. operate manufacturing facilities. Until it shut down in 2012, household appliance icon Whirlpool Corp. ran a factory in Fort Smith.
It was not clear if Kenco is a supplier to Carrier Corp., which has been in the news since announcing it was closing an air conditioner production plant in Indiana and shifting work to Mexico.
A local media outlet reported in summer of 2015 that a Kenco worker suffered an electric shock while working at a machine, an incident that required hospital treatment.