CULLMAN — Having picked up a major new contract earlier this year, the Cullman REHAU manufacturing plant is gearing up for a massive expansion that should create 200 jobs over the next two years.
Officials plan to add 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and are looking at construction options now for a new building at or near the current Industrial Drive site at the city Industrial Complex. Approximately $30 million in new equipment will be added immediately, not including additional equipment, a technology and technical center and investment for construction that could total over $100 million.
New injection molding equipment and fabrication devices will also be installed as part of the expansion, and the current paint line will be replaced with an environmentally safe water-borne system.
The new jobs will run the gamut from assembly workers to engineers and upper-to-mid-level managers.
The expansion is needed to accommodate a new long-term contract with Mercedes-Benz to develop and produce bumper assemblies for the C-Class and M-Class automobile lines.
Once the new line is in full swing, production will increase drastically from 90,000 bumpers-per-year to 540,000 bumpers-per-year.
REHAU representatives from the German office were in Cullman Tuesday to meet with local plant employees, and considering the rapid pace of the project, opted to make the announcement at a lunch with city officials.
“This contract win from Mercedes-Benz is significant not only for our Cullman plant in North America, but for REHAU as a global company, as we will be collaborating across several international regions to develop bumper solutions that can be used on vehicles in numerous countries,” REHAU Automotive CEO Niklas Braun said. “We contribute our success in securing this contract to our internal collaborative capabilities, as well as to a solid history of operational collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. This has been a valued customer relationship for us, and we look forward to the opportunities presented by our latest contract with the company.”