Cybex International Inc. announced a major improvement to its manufacturing capabilities Tuesday with the opening of a massive new factory in the Midwest. The company also said it has tapped Ty Warren of the New England Patriots to help market its exercise equipment.

Cybex International Inc. announced a major improvement to its manufacturing capabilities Tuesday with the opening of a massive new factory in the Midwest. The company also said it has tapped Ty Warren of the New England Patriots to help market its exercise equipment.


Cybex's $15 million facility in Owatonna, Minn., about an hour south of Minneapolis, features 275,000 square feet of manufacturing space and can be expanded to nearly a half-million square feet for production.


The factory, built with cost-saving systems and environmentally friendly designs, replaced a plant about 70 percent smaller in size that was located nearby. Cybex also invested $3.5 million in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.


John Aglialoro, Cybex's chairman and chief executive, said the project marks "a new phase of innovation'' for the company.


The new plant produces Cybex's strength equipment and ArcTrainer, which account for about two-thirds of the company's sales, according to Arthur Hicks, the company's chief operating officer. Cybex reported about $130 million in 2006 sales.


Hicks said Cybex has no plans to move its corporate headquarters to the new factory in Minnesota from 10 Trotter Drive in Medway. A recently awarded state grant of $3 million will pay for a sewer extension to the industrial park in which Cybex is located, Hicks noted.


Cybex employs close to 250 people in Medway - where the company makes treadmills and exercise bikes - and nearly 300 in Minnesota.


The Patriots' Warren, a 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound defensive lineman, signed an endorsement deal for print advertising, trade show appearances and other marketing initiatives. Cybex did not disclose financial details.


"The Patriots are a great team and it's great to be associated with them,'' Hicks said.


Warren visited Cybex headquarters at 10 Trotter Drive in Medway yesterday, meeting with company executives and trying out the latest cardio and strength training equipment.


"Ty's genuine knowledge and regular use of Cybex equipment helps us reinforce our brand strength on a worldwide basis,'' said Heather Corbitt, the company's marketing director, in a statement.


Cybex will use Warren to market its Total Body Arc Trainer, FT 360 and Cycline Upright Bike, which range in price from about $3,000 to $6,000.


Cybex already has a statement from Warren posted on its Web site: "When playing for a champion, you need to train like a champion. Nothing short of winning is expected every week. Training with Cybex equipment has produced greater results with my conditioning program so that I can perform like a champion.''


Greg Turner of The MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) can be reached at gturner@cnc.com or 508-626-3909.