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CHICAGO — Fast Industries Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., die cutter and extruder, is adding equipment to its die-cutting division that will double its capacity.

Preco Industries Inc. in Lenexa, Kan., will deliver a flat-bed press later this month or early next month. The automated machine will help Fast continue to consolidate operations such as taping, die cutting and stripping into one department. The machine will join a similar system Fast already has in production.

Fast began as a producer of consumer chemicals such as oven cleaners, deodorizers and air fresheners. When department stores couldn't keep the products on the shelf, the firm was encouraged to move into the die cutting business to make label holders. These holders saved the shelf space for the chemical products until they could be restocked.

Eventually, the extrusion unit grew out of the die cutting business. The supplier Fast was using was not providing the desired quality. Fast began collecting the plastic waste from the die cutting operations and ground, repelletized and extruded it themselves.

Today, the company has 150 employees and three divisions, consumer chemicals, die cutting and extrusion. The die cutting and extrusion divisions serve the merchandising accessories industry with shelf edge labeling systems, shelf dividers and point-of-purchase components. These are made from PVC, glycol-modified PET and polyethylene.

``We're looking to expand our marketing and product lines,'' said spokeswoman Mary DiNunzio.

The die cutting and extrusion divisions would like to expand into industrial markets with the die cutting division moving into cork and rubber, she explained.

Fast's headquarters and chemical and die cutting divisions are based in Fort Lauderdale, and its extrusion operation is in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Fast Industries Ltd. is based in Nottingham, England.