Larwill to become home of manufacturer

COLUMBIA CITY — A custom molding company that hopes to increase its share of the medical device marketplace is relocating to Whitley County.Red Star Contract Manufacturing, Inc. made the announcement official Tuesday after appearing before the Whitley County Council requesting a tax abatement for its new property in Larwill.“They’re closely tied to the medical device industry,” said Alan Tio of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.The council unanimously approved a request by company President Scott Werstler for a “phase-in” of property taxes on real estate improvements at the property formerly the home of Eagle Precision Machining facility.According to Tio and the EDC, Eagle Precision Machining is relocating to a facility in South Whitley.According to EDC’s press release, Red Star produces insert molding, product assembly and prototyping services for medical device manufacturing customers in California, Indiana, Michigan and Texas.A second branch of Red Star, formerly known as Pyramid Plastics Group, designs and builds vertical insert molding machines used in a number of custom molding applications.Red Star is moving from its current facility in LaOtto, which employs five workers.Werstler told the council that aside from the medical device industry, his company also caters to industry as well as clients in the fields of electronics, automotive, and recreational, including archery equipment.One product Red Star is contracted to manufacture is a biopsy needle.He told the board he was excited about the announcement that Iotron Industries Canada, Inc., a provider of contract sterilization services to the medical industry, would be locating a facility in Whitley County.“I currently have to ship them (biopsy needles) to North Carolina (for sterilization).”Werstler said a great deal of investigation would go into transferring the product to another sterilizer, but liked the possibility.Council member Bill Overdeer was pleased with the idea of the company’s relocation.“It will give us another foot in the door in the orthopedic industry in Whitley County, which I like,” Overdeer said. The company provided no time line for when the move would be completed.