SISTER COMPANIES EAST COAST, DOUBLE B TOOL GET BIGGER PLANT

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East Coast Plastics Inc. is investing about $3 million to relocate to a bigger facility and to expand custom and proprietary injection molding capacity.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., molder expects to complete the move to an 80,000-square-foot plant by April, said Robert Trank, the firm's president. It has bought five used Winslow injection presses with clamping forces of 275-375 tons to boost its press count to 24. Trank said there is enough room to double molding capacity in the renovated facility on a 10-acre site.

East Coast custom molds recreational, pool, hardware and medical products. Its proprietary line includes marine accessories, PVC outdoor furniture fittings and a new line of tool accessories. Trank said patented toolboxes for ladders are among its new products.

East Coast's growth led to crowding in its current, 30,000-square-foot plant in Fort Lauderdale, even though it runs three shifts. The company was forced to buy the bigger facility, Trank explained in a telephone interview. His company's injection molding sales grew about 20 percent last year to $5 million for the year ended Jan. 31, 1997.

Extra space also will allow sister company Double B Tool & Die Co. to expand, according to Trank. Double B, which had a few million dollars in sales last year, shares space with the molding operation. It eventually plans to install another computer numerically controlled machining center to supply injection molds for outside firms and East Coast's needs.

East Coast processes PVC, polyolefins, polyurethanes and engineering resins on presses with clamping forces of 75-500 tons. Trank and partner William Sullivan established the molding operation in 1980, about five years after Sullivan established Double B.

The two companies employ about 100, and expect to double that within three years.