ADS spending $65M to build Ohio technology center

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Advanced Drainage Systems Inc. is investing $65 million in a major engineering and technology center in Hilliard, Ohio.

Officials with Hilliard-based ADS announced plans for the 110,000-square-foot center in an Aug. 29 news release. President and CEO Scott Barbour said that the center “will be the most advanced stormwater engineering center in the world dedicated to product engineering, material science –– including recycled plastics –– and manufacturing technologies.”

“This new facility will accelerate our development of products designed to capture, convey, store and treat our most precious resource: water,” he added. “In this new center, our team of engineers, scientists and technicians will build sustainable solutions that utilize recycled plastics to improve quality of life in communities across North America.”

ADS plans to break ground in October at a 17-acre site near the firm’s headquarters. The center is expected to open in late 2023.

The expansion to ADS’ engineering and technology operations will allow the firm to consolidate all product development and testing operations and manufacturing engineering development into one location. The new center will include:

• A fabrication lab to develop prototype parts and test fixtures.

• A lab to analyze structural performance of prototypes under different conditions.

• A 3D printing lab to rapidly develop and vet concepts.

• An advanced technology lab for manufacturing and engineering prototyping.

Materials science labs at the center will provide performance-based materials test capability, analytic tools to generate structural and chemical information and extrusion capability for next-generation product formulations.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority will provide ADS with tax credits for the expansion. In return, the company must invest at least $10.8 million into the project, retain 322 existing jobs currently in Hilliard, and create 200 new jobs that would result in $20 million of new payroll to the state.

ADS also received assistance from JobsOhio, Ohio’s private economic development corporation, and One Columbus, its regional economic development partner, in site selection and in connecting ADS with economic development and city partners.

“ADS has proudly called Hilliard its home for two decades,” Hilliard City Manager Michelle Crandall said. “The development of [the new center] demonstrates the company’s continued investment and commitment to our city.”

The Hilliard project is the second investment announced by ADS this year. In March, the firm said it will invest $15 million into its Fairmont, Minn., site to buy 14 acres of land and add manufacturing space.

With $1.5 billion in annual extrusion sales, ADS is the third largest pipe, profile and tubing producer in North America, according to Plastics News’ latest ranking. It is the largest recycler in North America, according to PN rankings.

The company makes high density polyethylene and polypropylene corrugated pipe, fittings and other products for water management and drainage uses in the construction, infrastructure and agriculture markets.

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