Production has begun at Whitehall Industries' aluminum extrusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, a company official said Monday.
Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.Register Now
"We'll be ramping up for a while ... it will be ramping up for a couple of years," David Cooper, chief operating officer for the Ludington, Michigan-based company, said in an interview.
The $12.5 million facility was built to provide additional capacity for serving the US automotive market, he said.
Whitehall is "primarily a fabrication company," he added. "The extrusion press is used for our own internal use."
The company also operates an extrusion press at one of its two locations in Michigan.
The Paducah plant will offer "all manner of aluminum fabrication," Cooper said. "We are more than 90% automotive," with the remainder ranging from "anything from lighting to crossbows."
The Paducah location in western Kentucky's McCracken County was selected because of its proximity to automotive assembly plants in Kentucky and neighboring Tennessee.
"We have customers with plants in the South," Cooper said. "We are regionally located close to our customers."
The facility is Whitehall's second plant outside Michigan. It also operates a facility in Mexico.
Cooper said it is premature to talk about possible expansions either in Paducah or elsewhere. The company does not disclose capacity figures for its plants.
The plant eventually will have 140 full-time employees earning an average of $19.50/hour, according to state filings. The plant currently has about 45 employees, Cooper said.