June 27, 2014
Wetekam Monofilaments USA, LP announced Friday it has purchased a 93,000 square foot facility (the former Fibrecraft plant) in the Jefferson County Industrial Park in Dandridge, where it will manufacture industrial monofilament yarns through a high tech extrusion process. The company plans to hire 32 workers and invest several million dollars.
“We are excited about expanding to Dandridge and opening our first United States manufacturing facility,” Karl Wetekam, CEO of Dr Karl Wetekam and CO KG, the U.S. operation’s parent company. “We have been in business for almost 50 years in Germany and have seen our product lines and international markets grow. The Jefferson County facility will better serve our existing North American customers and help expand our U.S. customer base.” Wetekam plans to open the facility in the Spring of 2015. It will begin the hiring process around January 2015.
Established in 1965, Wetekam Monofilaments is one of the largest monofilament yarn manufacturers in Europe. Currently, 45 percent of its production is for export; 30 percent of production is estimated to be for the North American market. The Jefferson County facility will assume production responsibilities for U.S. Canadian and South American customers. The facility is the first North American location for the company.
“Dandridge is delighted to welcome Wetekam Monofilaments,” Dandridge Mayor, George Gantte said. “This is a family-owned company that appreciates traditional business values and acumen. That matches the strong work ethic, traditional values, and family principles that the citizens of Jefferson County hold so dear. Together, the company executives and the local workers will make Wetekam a successful business and a strong corporate citizen.”
In Germany, Wetekam operates an in-house laboratory and technical facilities to perform tests required by customers to determine exact properties including strength and flexibility. A similar lab will be a part of the Dandridge plant. With its technologies and highly developed production methods Wetekam individually optimizes products that have been customized according to customer specifications.
Wetekam Monofilaments yarns are used by a broad range of manufacturers in a variety of products. Customers are technical weavers, braiders, tufters and knitters. Important industries supplied are automotive, medical, sport (turf, tennis racket strings, fishing line) and upholstery among others.
Wetekam Monofilaments is characterized by a dedicated understanding of the end performance of the final product. This is one important reason that Wetekam turf yarn has been installed in several major U.S. sports stadiums.
“Recruiting Wetekam Monofilaments to Jefferson County was a team effort,” Jefferson County Mayor, Alan Palmieri said. “I want to thank Appalachian Electric Cooperative, Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Tennessee Valley Authority for their partnership. We look forward to working with the company’s leadership as they hire employees and begin operations. And I know we will all continue to support Wetekam as they grow here in Jefferson County.”