Ford’s new F series of pickup trucks is the primary catalyst for Summit Polymer’s $7.3 million expansion in Portage, Vicksburg and Sturgis.
“The launch of the new F series trucks definitely is playing into this,” said Scott McAllister, corporate materials manager for the Tier 1 automotive supplier. “And the launch of the upcoming F-250 series also plays into a majority of this expansion.”
Summit Polymers Inc. plans to invest $7.3 million in its facilities in Portage, Vicksburg and Sturgis, and add 198 new jobs, surfaced Wednesday as the business was awarded an $800,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
Such grants are awarded to businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan.
McAllister said Summit, which already provides interior components to Ford, will be producing more for those truck lines and that gives the company more flexibility in how it assigns the manufacturing for them here.
“With the next generation of Ford trucks, those will become more similar,” McAllister said. “As a result of that, it provides more flexiblity oin out manufacturing footprint.”
Summit Polymers produces the decorative interior components and systems for cars and trucks, primarily what is called dashboard hang-on-trim (the attractive parts of the dashboard and instrument panel).
McAllister said that for many years there have been some different designs for the F-150 model and Ford’s heavy-duty pickup series. But there is less of that with the new series.
The injection molded plastics company is adding millions of dollars worth of new equipment at its Michigan manufacturing locations. Less than two weeks ago it began expanding its 206,175 –square-foot production facility at 115 S. Leja Drive in Vicksburg’s Leja Business Park. The rear of the plant is being expanded by about 200 square feet.
The company is also expanding a building on its corporate campus, part of its technical center at 6715 S. Sprinkle Road in Portage.
About $3.6 million of the $7.3 million Summit is spending is for building expansion and building upgrades in Vicksburg and Portage, McAllister said. The balance will pay for new machinery in those locations as well as Sturgis during the next three years.
Some 198 production jobs the company expects to create as a result of the expansion, will be filled over the next three years, he said.
“These would be largely assembly jobs where it’s (working with) very automated equipment that has air proofing and air detection built into it,” McAllister said.
“It’s working in assembly cells, using highly automated equipment.”
Those looking for work may check the careers page at summitpolymers.com.