Decatur Plastics Adding Jobs

Employment at Decatur Plastics Products in the Airport Industrial Park in Gadsden will exceed original projections, company officials said Friday at the plant’s grand opening and ribbon cutting.

John Kussman, president of Decatur Plastics, which announced on Feb. 13, 2004, the plant would be coming to Gadsden, said employment will reach 60 by mid-year with the possibility of adding more.

“We’ve got some other business we’re looking at that we could possibly be up to 80 employees here,” he said. He said the company could expand to three shifts and also could add a third production line if needed.

The firm originally had said the plant would employ 50.

Currently, it employs 26. Kussman said the company has invested more than $2 million in the 27,000-square-foot facility.

The plant is a flocking operation, where plastic products are coated with adhesive followed by the application of electro-statically charged flock fibers that are made of nylon.

The finished product has a velour look and soft feel.

The plant produced its first parts Jan. 10 and is still in the “ramp up” mode, Kussman said. Full production is scheduled for June.

The company has two other plants in Indiana.

The plant will be flocking parts for Delphi Safety and Interiors, which Kussman noted is located about 300 yards away. The parts will be used in the 2006 Mercedes M-Class Series sport utility vehicle produced in Vance that will be available in April and the MercedesR-Class Grand Sports Tourer that will also be produced in Vance that will be available this fall.

The plant will flock a total of 26 different parts for the two vehicles, or about 480,000 parts annually.

The flocked parts for the vehicles include glove boxes, storage bins, telephone bins and associated components. When the company announced it would be locating here, Kussman said being located close to the customer was a major concern so they would be able to work closely together on quality and other issues.

Kussman thanked many people and the city of Gadsden; the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority; contractors Hudak and Dawson; the state of Alabama and its training; Coating Application Specialists Inc., which supplied the equipment for the plant; and its customers, including Delphi and Mercedes.

The plant will use about 90,000 pounds of nylon annually to flock the parts.

By Andy Powell
Times Staff Writer