PAULDING, Ohio (WFFT) - The Spartech Custom Sheet and Rollstock Paulding branch took a hit back in April when several employees were laid off because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
Spartech’s Paulding plant normally produces various thermoplastic polymer and high impact polystyrene materials, not clear acrylic (plexiglass).
But in the “new normal,” the Paulding team nimbly shifted to producing plexiglass, which is used for sneeze guards and other clear protective barriers at grocery stores, retail outlets, and schools to name a few.
The plant has already converted two production lines for plexiglass and is in the process of converting at least one more line.
Plant manager Gary Buckland says, "If I told our team earlier this spring that we would be making clear plastics, they would have said it cannot happen... but it is happening, and everyone is doing a great job stepping up to meet this demand."
Line operator Cody Lane experienced the Spartech furlough briefly this spring but was rehired to join the original 90 staff members that all resumed operating the northwest Ohio facility.
Lane says, "I was only off for a short time. With this new product an customer base, everybody's thrilled to be real honest. We're making a lot of plastic which in turn makes it a lot easier on everybody else."
In addition to rehiring the original staff, Spartech production manager Ed Salinas says, "We're looking [to hire] at anywhere from 20 to 30 people."
The demand for these clear plastics continues to increase in response to safety protocols for businesses.
In the meantime for Spartech, the business continues to accelerate.