GREENFIELD — Yet another Hancock County employer is floating plans to expand existing operations.
Indiana Automotive Fasteners plans to add 25 new workers to its Greenfield headquarters over the next two years, taking the company to more than 400 employees. The supplier of automotive nuts, bolts and screws said it needs the additional manufacturing positions to keep up with growing demand from customers.
Chris Crafton, plant general manager, said the company will increase production from 13,500 containers – about 7.5 million fasteners – each day to 15,000 over the next two to three years.
Part of that growth will be increased demand from customers, like Toyota and Ford, but some will also come from added production lines.
The company is going to begin making some parts here that it was previously purchasing from suppliers in Japan. Currently the company purchases about 20 percent of its fasteners from Japan. Because of the strengthening yen, purchasing those products is no longer cost effective, said Chikage Castle, account manager. Castle said IAF would like to reduce purchasing to 10 percent in the coming years and eventually to as little as possible.
Production of several types of nuts will now be added to local operations, as well as some additional heat treating and coating capabilities.
“We’re adding a lot of new machinery,” said Kathleen Robbins, general manager of human resources.
The company has applied for a 10-year tax abatement on $15 million worth of manufacturing equipment to be installed at the current facility. The equipment will be used for heading, rolling, heat treatment, plastic molding and other functions of fastener production.
If approved, the abatement will give IAF a tax break of nearly $900,000 over 10 years. IAF representatives said the company has a good working relationship with the City of Greenfield and has received incentive packages for several other expansions since it began operations in 1996. The project is contingent upon both state and local incentive packages; grants from the state have already been received.
The hiring and equipment purchases will take place over the next three years. Five positions are slated to be added yet this year, with 10 additional hires for each of the next two. All 25 positions are in manufacturing and start with a base pay of $12.92, rising to $14.05 after six months. The bulk of the investment in equipment will take place in the next year.
IAF is the fourth Hancock County company since June to apply for a tax abatement to expand existing business. Elanco, Covance and Indiana Box have also presented plans to city and county officials for additional hiring and investment.
Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said communities can generally expect 70 percent of job growth to come from existing businesses, so this most recent announcement bodes well for Hancock County.
“We’ve been fortunate to see expansions occurring and hopefully this is a sign we’ll be starting to see the end, locally, of these recessionary periods,” Kuker said. “It’s very good for the local community to make sure we’re working with existing businesses. (IAF) has been a great local partner.”
IAF’s abatement request will be heard by the Greenfield Redevelopment Commission Sept. 25 and the Greenfield City Council Sept. 26.