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TomKen Plastic Technologies expands with SBA 504 financing from First Merchants Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC
TomKen Plastic Technologies is expanding its manufacturing capability in Muncie by adding a larger building and new equipment.

General Manager Bruce Carmichael says TomKen installed two new plastic injection molding machines with clamp tonnage of 310 and 1,100 tons -- in a new, 15,000 square-foot building. A robot for moving completed parts comes with each machine. Also new; a 10-ton overhead crane spans the molding machines to load and unload molds. The facility features an automated material handling system with an outdoor silo.

Twenty-two molding machines are currently in production in TomKen's new and previously existing molding buildings. Carmichael says there is room for about six more machines.

TomKen helped finance the expansion with a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program provided by First Merchants Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation.

Several new contracts to produce components for 2013 model year cars spurred TomKen to expand, says Carmichael.

"We ran out of manufacturing space," he says. "We were not going to grow if we didn't expand." TomKen moved into its new building earlier this year. Setup, landscaping and other finishing touches are nearly complete. Carmichael says the number of employees, currently at 46, may increase by six as the company accepts new work orders.

TomKen manufactures plastic injection molding components and the precision molds to produce them for companies in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Mexico. Bruce's wife, Randi Carmichael, is president. The company was founded in 1960.

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide SBA 504 loans to owners of expanding companies. Congress created the SBA 504 program so owners of small businesses could get long-term, fixed rate financing with lower down payments similar to financing commercially available for large companies.

David Spade of First Merchants Bank says, "This project for TomKen Plastic Technology is a textbook case of using the 504 program loan for expanding long term assets to support company growth and allow the borrower a long term, fixed rate repayment schedule. They were able to retain cash for their working capital needs by leveraging the building and equipment with SBA and conventional bank financing."

Since 1986, SBA 504 loans have funded over $62 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses in the U.S. In turn, those small firms have created or retained over 2.1 million jobs.

Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says that the Indiana Statewide CDC has invested more than $385 million in 1.012 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving 26,500 jobs. Indiana Statewide CDC is the leading SBA 504 lender in Indiana.

New jobs at TomKen help grow the number of manufacturing jobs in Delaware County to just above 4,000. Carmichael says, "We added high quality jobs because of our overall increase in capacity and technology. The terms of the First Merchants and SBA 504 loan working helped us focus on our work and grow our business. That's good for everyone."

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