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Wisconsin molder Five Star Plastics adding equipment and space

By: Michael Lauzon

January 2, 2013

EAU CLAIRE, WIS. (Jan. 2, 10:30 a.m. ET) — Custom molder and prototyper Five Star Plastics is expanding to be poised for new demands.

“We’re seeing increased business and looking at good potential from new clients,” said Five Star President Richard Piltz in a telephone interview.

“We’ll probably get new business from three or four different items,” Piltz said, but he declined to provide specifics.

Five Star will invest more than $2 million to add 25,000 square feet to its plant in Eau Claire, Wis., and install more machinery, including a 1,000-ton injection press needed for new molding work. The privately held company also will build clean-room capability. Five Star now has more than 20 injection presses molding for a wide range of industries, Piltz said in a late December interview.

Five Star expects to soon assign a contractor for the building addition and it plans construction to start in April. The expansion and new machinery installation should be done by August, in time to take on some of the new work.

Piltz led a buyout of Five Star from bankruptcy in 2002. Other owners of the business include his son and an outside investor. Piltz is majority owner.

Five Star employs about 90, some of whom have been working for the company for more than 20 years under previous ownership. Piltz declined to provide sales figures.

Piltz said the firm has a vigorous prototyping department and its own tool room. It supplies components to customers throughout the United States.

The building addition includes manufacturing and office space. Last year Five Star added 13,000 square feet and began hiring more than 20 new employees.

Five Star got approval in early December for the expansion from the Eau Claire Plan Commission. It is based in the Eau Claire Sky Park Industrial Park and also runs a rapid prototyping business in Manitowoc, Wis.

“Rapid prototyping capability is probably one of the reasons we have grown,” Piltz explained.