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At a glance
Techniplas Group owns three plastics companies:
Nyloncraft Inc. supplies quality parts to the automotive and heavy trucking industries while lowering costs and reducing weight
Dickten Masch Plastics molds custom thermoplastics and thermoset with technical and advanced processing capabilities serving automotive and industrial customers
Vallotech makes extremely high-precision thermoplastic, thermoset and metal insert parts in Switzerland for the automotive, electrical and mechanical markets
Source: Techniplas Group website

100 jobs lost with Fort Wayne plant closure

Nyloncraft to shift gear, some workers to 2 other factories

Less than four months after buying a Fort Wayne factory, Nyloncraft Inc. officials have decided to close its doors.

As a result, about 100 jobs at 5727 Industrial Road will be lost.

The manufacturer will offer employees the opportunity to transfer as their jobs are moved in stages to Nyloncraft’s existing operations in Mishawaka and Michigan.

“It’s not a sudden closure. It’s going to take about a year,” President and CEO Jim Krzyzewski said Tuesday.

Officials are still working out details concerning relocation allowances for workers, who are not union members. A sister company in Wisconsin also has numerous job openings. Both are under the Techniplas Group umbrella.

Mishawaka-based Nyloncraft employs 88 hourly, 11 salaried and 14 temporary workers locally. Wages average $11.32 an hour for hourly workers and $21 an hour for skilled trades, Krzyzewski said.

The company must stockpile inventory before it can dismantle and move manufacturing equipment from the leased location, the CEO said.

Workers received the closure news about 1 p.m. Tuesday in an all-employee meeting at the plant. The company’s head of human resources and vice president of operations delivered the message.

Customers will be notified next, Krzyzewski said. Their needs will determine the transition’s timing.

No schedule has been set for when job cuts will begin or end, he said. But in a letter to Mayor Tom Henry’s office, the company said, “Permanent layoffs will begin effective Nov. 8. … It’s expected that the complete and permanent closure will occur in September 2014.”

Work and equipment will be moved to Mishawaka and Jonesville, Mich., for the short term, Krzyzewski said. The long-term strategy could involve sending some of the work to Mexico.

Nyloncraft in Fort Wayne makes three product lines: brake reservoirs, air suspension components and large surge tanks. Most of the products are used in heavy trucks.

Most of the products are shipped to assembly plants in Mexico. Customers have pushed for lower operating and shipping costs, Krzyzewski said. If Nyloncraft didn’t respond, it might have lost the orders, he said.

“That’s a big factor in the whole thing,” he said.

Also, he said, the Fort Wayne plant is overcrowded, making it difficult for workers to operate efficiently there.

Nyloncraft, which employs about 530, including local workers, bought the location operation in June from NYX Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Company officials evaluated the business before making the final decision to move the work.

“It became pretty apparent,” Krzyzewski said, “something had to be done.”

sslater@jg.net

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