Your Story Made Here: Continental Structural Plastics

By Melissa Long - 21Alive

April 8, 2014 Updated Apr 8, 2014 at 8:09 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (21Alive) - Four short years ago, an industrial park on the west side of Huntington sat mostly empty. Not anymore. One of the companies that moved in is a place where dreams are made. A story made here that turns "goo" into GO!

Jerry Reid says "We make what we like to call the emotional parts." Jerry Reid is the plant manager at Continental Structural Plastics, a leader in the design and manufacturing of composite products. At its 200 thousand square foot facility in Huntington, CSP makes body panels for the 2014 corvette.

Jerry Reid says: "So we make about 60% of the exterior for the new corvette both wide body and the base car. We make the hood and fenders for the Raptor Truck Lincoln MKS Navigator hoods we make.

The process is fascinating. A CSP plant in Van Wert makes the sheet molding compound and sends it to Huntington.

Jerry Reid says:"It looks like silly putty. It's a resin fiberglass mixture. We cut it into a specific charge or pattern and load it into a press."

Then they let temperature and pressure, up to 2500 tons of it, do the work.

Jerry Reid says:" It's kinda neat if you've never seen it before…that you can throw the pile of goo into a press and it forms this part…right? And so it's pretty neat."

What comes out of the press has to fit precisely…so dimensional integrity is very important. Ken Harants is the engineering manager at the plant.

"Not only the cosmetics, Jerry spoke about the emotional…you know how the hood looks and the fenders and so forth…but they have to be right. So we have tolerances and in a lot of cases…it's less than a millimeter. We're doing some industry leading things downstairs with some very challenging parts."

The 380 people who work here have a wide range of skills. Engineers, robot programmers, maintenance, hydraulic and electrical experts. A lot of gauging and dimensional work goes on here. Some new hires have the needed skill set…but others are trained. Jerry Reid Says:" We have what we call CSP University where we'll bring people through a training process on the proper techniques and do's and don'ts and best practices."

The company hires through job fairs and schools like IVY Tech and other engineering and trade schools. In fact, they've hired 120 people over the past 8 months.

Continental Structural Plastics is doing cutting edge work to create an age-old feeling. The thrill one gets when looking at a gorgeous automobile. It's sleek, iconic form…made here.




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