Beginning in May, Uponor North America will be breaking ground at its headquarters facility in Apple Valley, Minn., to add 17,500 square feet of manufacturing space to help meet forecasted growth for crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing for plumbing, fire sprinkler and radiant heating and cooling systems.

This will be the fifth expansion for the 1990-built facility, bringing the total space to 230,000 square feet, which houses the North American corporate offices, manufacturing and Uponor Academy, the company’s onsite training center.

“We are projecting substantial growth for our PEX product in the commercial and residential markets for plumbing, fire sprinkler and radiant floor heating and cooling systems,” says Uponor North America President Bill Gray. “This expansion will allow us to continue our growth in the PEX marketplace and ensure we can meet current and future customer demand.”

The expansion, which is set to be complete by October 2013 with a planned occupancy date of late December, will also include 3,000 square feet of employee service areas, including an expanded lunch room, locker rooms, restrooms and outdoor seating.

“We are a 24/7 operation, so we’re making PEX tubing every minute of every day,” says Rusty Callier, director of Operations at Uponor. “We want to make sure we have sufficient space to manufacture the tubing, as well as provide a positive and productive environment for the employees who are making the tubing.”

The company is not just expanding its footprint, but also its workforce. On April 18, the facility hosted an onsite job fair which brought in more than 60 candidates looking for manufacturing and maintenance positions. Additionally, the company was awarded the 2013 Manufacturer of the Year award from the Manufacturers Alliance, recognizing the company’s lean manufacturing operations and processes.

“This is an exciting time at Uponor,” says Callier. “We are not only expanding our facility and growing our workforce, but we are also being recognized by our peers in the manufacturing industry. It’s rewarding to be part of an organization that is continuing to invest in its future.”