By the end of the year, a manufacturer in the special effects market will be up and running in the former Day-Timers building in Lower Macungie Township, creating up to 30 or more jobs.
The zoning hearing board for Lower Macungie Township gave approval for Smooth-On Inc. to move its Easton liquid rubber and plastics manufacturing facility to the Lower Macungie Road building that once housed the well known Day-Timers company headquarters. The company has about 150 employees at its Easton facility.
Smooth-On's products require mixing of various chemicals, which are considered hazardous waste materials. The company's president was at Tuesday's meeting to address any concerns from zoning board members or residents.
Upon conclusion of the meeting, the board agreed to change the zoning of the property to allow for nonconforming manufacturing in an area that is zoned as suburban residential.
"The township has been very welcoming," said Trey Bianco, president and co-owner of Smooth-On.
Bianco bought Smooth-On Inc. 25 years ago, partnering with his best friend, Clay Western. The company's customers are typically artists who use its liquid rubber and plastics to make character or sculptural molds. According to Bianco, its products have been used in movies and on television shows such as the Martha Stewart Show and Tank.
Other customers use Smooth-On's products in architectural restoration, and it also is used to make prototypes and product models.
"The chemicals we use come in as hazardous materials, but are safe in the end product," Bianco said. "We clean the vessels of our machines between batches and we dispose of it properly, according to the law."
The Lower Macungie Fire Department has been provided with a complete list of chemicals that Smooth-On will use at its facility.
"At present, the LMFD is content with the mitigation and safety plans submitted by Smooth-On," Fire Chief David Nosal of LMFD said. "We have given our input as to the type, location and quantity of firefighting-related water supplies, which we feel will be beneficial."
Nosal also indicated that all plans submitted by Smooth-On will need to successfully meet and be approved by local, state and federal authorities.
According to Bianco, Smooth-On has distributing centers in major cities across the nation and in Europe, but the Easton location is the company's only manufacturing facility.
At the 31-acre former Day-Timers location, the 360,000-square foot building will retain its office space for Smooth-On's administrative staff, but Bianco said there will be some upgrades. The manufacturing area of the building will need upgrades as well, including electrical work to make the facility compatible with Smooth-On's equipment, Bianco said.
Bianco also said, upon moving to Lower Macungie, the company will continue to add jobs as business grows.
"Lower Macungie is a growing, beautiful market," Bianco said. "We are attracted to the workforce there and are looking forward to hiring quality employees."
Lower Macungie Township officials were unavailable for comment.
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