Driven by demand for its innovative solutions for UHMW-PE parts, Global Polymer Industries is making room to meet customers’ needs by adding 32,500 square feet of production space to its facility in Madison, S.D.
The three-year expansion, with ground broken in fall 2022, is expected to cost the company about $10 million. During the project, 88 new pieces of equipment will be added, bringing the total to approximately 210. The company expects to hire 100 to 200 additional employees, filling positions from production to design to other roles.
Since its founding in 1993, Global Polymer has steadily grown and earned a reputation for creativity and innovation in designing and molding parts from ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, which is durable, light, self-lubricating, temperature-tolerant and doesn’t absorb water or most other contaminants. Manufacturers in the agriculture, manufacturing, energy and transportation sectors turn to Global Polymer for solutions to tough parts challenges. Parts it produces – often complex shapes, some embedded with metal – are used on agricultural loaders, rail cars, drilling platforms, snowmobiles, conveyors for food and drug manufacturing, and a host of other products and machinery.
“In terms of technology, we’re on the cutting edge,” says Derek Mertz, business analyst.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF INNOVATION
The expansion builds upon Global Polymer’s expertise and experience, as much of the new equipment incorporates the company’s proprietary molding and production technology.
Unlike many competitors, Global Polymer molds parts from UHMW-PE under heat and pressure instead of machining them from sheets of pre-formed plastic – a more wasteful method. With its proprietary technology and machines and molds it builds in-house, the company has achieved consistently higher production volumes with UHMW-PE.
“Instead of a cycle time of where you’ll get three parts in 25 minutes, we’ll get one part coming out of our auto cell every one and a half to two minutes,” says Pete Gustaf, VP/chief strategy officer.
“Our competitors use a method invented in the 1950s, so they don’t have an automated process,” Gustaf says. “We’ve innovated in a way nobody else in the market has done.”