ORANGE CITY, Iowa | In the year Vogel Paint Inc. celebrated its 90th anniversary, the company added another layer of expansion, breaking ground for an addition of 91,000 square feet to its Peridium Powder Coatings production facility, more than doubling its capacity.
"We began with site work one year ago and then began erecting the facility during the late summer," said Scott Heemstra, director of manufacturing at Diamond Vogel, the paint manufacturing farm started by Andrew Vogel some nine decades ago.
"We have 10 production lines in the powder coating facility and we'll have room for 15 more over time," Heemstra disclosed.
Initially, the company will install six of those 15 lines while hiring an additional 25 employees. In a five-year time span, as production lines are added, a total of 49 additional employees will join the firm in that capacity.
"We employ 65 people right now between the research and development lab and in quality control lab and production," said David Vander Werff, director of human resource services.
The sprawling manufacturing concern on Orange City's southern edge began powder coating in 1998 and five years later built its powder coating plant, which measures 67,000 square feet.
"We began with two lines, grew to three lines and now operate two shifts," Heemstra said.
The company employs about 330 people in Orange City, reaching peak employment during the summer months. All told, Vogel Paint employs nearly 800 people in a 14-state region.
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"Our demand predominantly comes from that 14-state region, but it is growing all over North America," Heemstra said.
"We have seen consistent double-digit growth," Vander Werff explained, citing a reason for the $29.9 million expansion effort.
Heemstra said the plant continues to achieve efficiencies through redundancy, allowing Diamond Vogel to schedule groups of colors to realize that efficiency. Equipment for the new plant addition comes from North America and Europe.
"A lot of the techniques and the way we produce are unique to the industry," said Heemstra, noting that the company's partners across the globe have labeled the Diamond Vogel powder coating effort as a world-class process that gives the firm a competitive advantage and leads to even more demand.
Vogel's powder enables the company's customers to paint more efficiently, thus becoming more cost-effective in the process.
"It ends up being a win/win situation for our customers," Vander Werff said.
Diamond Vogel, a family-owned enterprise based in the Sioux County seat, recently welcomed the fourth generation of the Vogel family into its ownership and management roles, at a time when an expansion shows the continued investment into a community that has grown by more than 4,000 people in the past six decades or so.
"The expansion certainly signals the company's commitment to the community while also giving thanks to past and current employees that have helped it achieve success," said Vander Werff.
The 2017 project is the latest in a series of advancements within the sprawling Vogel footprint along Sioux County Road K-64. Just five years ago, the firm completed a warehouse expansion of 13,500 square feet.
"We've grown a lot faster than we expected," said Heemstra.