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CHICAGO — Bruce Plastics Inc. has invested nearly $1 million to boost injection molding capabilities at its sole production plant, in Pittsburgh.

The thermoplastic and thermoplastic elastomer molder has added five new injection molding machines in the past year, said Bruce President Dhiren Shah. He discussed the project at the National Design Engineering Show and Conference, held March 10-13 in Chicago.

The added machinery will bolster the factory's thermoplastic and TPE molding capacity about 20 percent, Shah said.

The 150,000-square-foot unit has ample space for the equipment.

Although the president declined to disclose Bruce's annual sales, he said that he expects sales to increase 10-15 percent this year.

Currently employing about 100 workers, the company added five employees to its staff in the past year to support its growth plans, Shah said.

Including the new machines, Bruce's plant operates more than 25 injection molding units, with clamping forces of 39-500 tons.

The firm makes a variety of molded goods including handles, bumpers and feet, as well as Polylastomer-brand components.

Bruce's elastomeric line makes up about 40 percent of the company's total sales, Shah said. As Bruce's fastest-growing segment, the TPE business sees its sales rise about 20 percent each year.

Most of the firm's TPEs are used in molded applications such as handle grips.

The materials also are used for original manufacturing equipment for shock mounts and vibration absorption.