TI Automotive Opens $30-Million Plant in Georgia
TI Automotive (Warren, MI)
has opened a new plant in Hartwell, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta, for
the production of blow-molded fuel tanks and 3D blow molded filler
pipes. Prototype build of products is to commence in September, 2005,
then work will proceed for three contracts that the company has in hand,
next-generation versions of the BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Dodge
Sebring/Stratus. The business that the company has booked represents
approximately 480,000 automotive fuel tank systems; the $30-million
plant, designed and built by O'Neal, Inc.
has the capability of producing one million units. Howard Duxbury, TI
president of Global Fuel Systems, says that the investment in the
Hartwell plant is the single biggest made in the history of the company,
yet adds, "We would like to increase the investment by $10 million." In
other words, the company sees a bright opportunity for this plant,
quite possibly given the number of vehicle manufacturers that have set
up significant facilities in the southeast.
The company has three blow-molding lines, two for gas tanks and one for filler pipe production (the initial customer for the plastic filler pipes is BMW; while plastic filler pipes have made in-roads in Europe, they have yet to catch on in the U.S.). Each of the tank machines can produce 68 units per hour; filler pipes can be made at a rate of 120 per hour.
Duxbury notes that heretofore, the TI Automotive plant in Rastatt, Germany, had been the technology leader among the company's operations. Now that position is held by a 145,000-ft2 plant at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.宥SV