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ENTEK to increase battery separator production

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ENTEK International is preparing to add two new production lines at its 12.35-acre manufacturing facility on Hansard Avenue, one this year and another in 2013.

Dan Powell, chief financial officer, said the new lines will allow the company to further penetrate into the market for automotive battery separators, with sales to more battery manufacturers.

For the new lines, the company plans to expand its 136,000 square-foot industrial building by 48,000 square feet, with the possibility of a 15,250 square-foot warehouse addition. The expansion requires demolition of about 11,500 square feet of the existing structure.

ENTEK Manufacturing, a spin-off from ENTEK International, is responsible for engineering and building on the project.

Construction is expected to start later this year, with equipment manufacture beginning first.

Powell said the two-year initial phase of the project is expected to cost about $30 million and add 16 to 20 jobs at ENTEK International.

ENTEK Manufacturing has started hiring already, Powell said.

“This means there will be a lot more money spent in Lebanon and not somewhere else. This is a win for both companies,” he said.

Because the expansion extends the building on the east to within the required 20-foot setback from the street right-of-way, the company needed a variance from city street-side setback rules to move forward on the project.

The Lebanon Planning Commission unanimously  approved the variance on March 23.

According to the planning department staff report, the building extension will not affect the clear vision area at the ENTEK driveway off Hansard, or at the railroad crossing  further north on the street. The crossing is controlled with lights and crossing arms.

City Development Director Walt Wendolowski said ENTEK had considered a variety of ways to expand the building before deciding on one that would require the variance. The key factor is the 350-foot length of the production lines.

According to ENTEK’s application for the variance, the building still will be 20 feet from the street curb, because the right-of-way extends 10 feet beyond the curb.

Wendolowski told commissioners that the expansion project had already been reviewed by planning staff and been OK’d, subject  to the commission’s approval  of the variance.

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