A Hamilton County plastic and plastic molds manufacturer is planning a major expansion and equipment upgrade in hopes of cashing in on business from Volkswagen.
Robert J. Lotufo, who founded Lookout Industries 16 years ago, said the work is expected to take place over the next two years and could cost more than $1 million.
“We have begun the online process and have made the primary contacts,” Mr. Lotufo said. “We can tell them we are working on it.”
In an effort to come into compliance with car company regulations governing suppliers, Mr. Lotufo said Lookout Industries will upgrade its quality control standards, which could cost about $50,000.
Staff Photo by D. Patrick Harding
Jane Gamble, an employee at Lookout Industries, uses an injection molding to produce plastic connectors for artificial limbs. Lookout Industries, which makes a variety of plastic products, is expanding in hopes of acquiring more business from Volkswagen.
The company, which made about $3 million in sales in 2007, also is expected to spend between $100,000 and $500,000 on new equipment. In addition, it could spend up to $500,000 adding 15,000 square feet of space to its 45,000-square-foot facility at 2710 Kanasita Drive in Hixson.
Mr. Lotufo said Lookout Industries, which employees about 40 workers, will likely add about 15 people to its work force to help meet Volkswagen’s productivity requirements.
Jill Bratina, a spokeswoman for Volkswagen, referred anyone wishing to become a supplier for the auto plant to visit the car maker’s Web site, www.vwgroupsupply.com.
The German automaker plans to hold an open house in either late September or early October for potential employees and suppliers.
“We will begin meeting with some of the various suppliers in the area at that time,” Ms. Bratina said.
Lookout Industries makes molds and plastic products for a number of companies, which Mr. Lotufo declined to identify.
The company makes plastic for many types of products including parts for prosthetic limbs, ergonomic floor mats, fence posts, duck calls and some decorative automotive parts.
“Typically, we only do what is called third-tier automotive work,” Mr. Lotufo said, but he hopes that will soon change.
“Our goal is to have (the upgrade) in place by 2010,” he said.
Volkswagen officials said they expect construction to be complete on their Enterprise South industrial park facility by late 2010 and begin producing cars.