40-year-old PMT changes with times

By: Roger Renstrom

March 4, 2013

EL PASO, TEXAS -- Plastic Molding Technology Inc. has marked its 40th year in business, and its founder, chairman, chief technology officer and family patriarch, Charles E. Sholtis, is nearing retirement.

His sons have key PMT roles, with Charles A. Sholtis as CEO and Todd Sholtis as vice president for new business development.

One-half of PMT’s 2012 sales of more than $14.9 million came from Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers. PMT’s top 15 customers have been clients for an average of seven years.

Changes have kept PMT in action.

The Sholtis family members saw the core of their plastics processing business at risk in 2000 and, through four years, transitioned operations to the Texas border region from the firm’s Connecticut roots.

PMT followed the lead of some key customers that wanted suppliers close to their maquiladora assembly plants.

The company opened a 12,000-square-foot satellite operation in El Paso, Texas, in June 2001. The precision molder ceased operations in Seymour, Conn., in June 2004, uprooting the remaining business, moving families and making personal adjustments.

Now, the non-union firm employs 94, including five in an in-house tool-repair shop. PMT’s 60,000-square-foot operation, as of Feb. 26, had gone 939 days without a lost-workday accident, according to the company.

Customers interviewed gave PMT high marks.

PMT supported a client’s electrical business in moving an operation to PMT’s area from a site in the West. The customer decided in May 2008 to move the work; PMT completed the changes by December.

For another firm, PMT moved 14 injection molding machines, qualified about 200 tools working only from master samples and became responsible for making 900 different production parts. “I look at this as an extraordinary achievement,” said the segment global sourcing leader for the Northeast-based customer.

An executive for the North American operations of a European-based customer said, “PMT is a key, high-performing supplier. We have many years of mutually beneficial business to look back on, and I envision a strong relationship in the future.”

The product engineering manager and Ciudad Juárez technical center site manager for a Midwest-based automotive supplier said, “PMT ranks very high among our suppliers and has demonstrated the ability to be one of our top plastic component suppliers.”

A new customer interviewed El Paso-area injection molders and said it selected PMT for its competitive pricing and quality and management systems. “Currently, PMT is running one mold for us,” said the customer’s injection molding supervisor.

Over four years, PMT has invested more than $2.1 million in capital equipment.

In January, after making a $60,000 investment, PMT began operating a Gardner Denver Inc. model VS70  variable-speed, rotary-screw compressor to reduce energy requirements possibly by 190,000 kilowatt hours annually for the plant’s compressed-air auxiliary system. Pressure needs dropped to 90 pounds per square inch from 110 psi.

PMT uses version 3.10.10 of the enterprise resource planning system from IQMS Inc. of Paso Robles, Calif. Connected to the ERP network is customized software for data acquisition, archiving and collection of molding machine parameters. The system monitors press activity and can shut down an injection molding machine if it is idled for more than 30 minutes. Annual energy savings is about $50,000.

DataWorX Ethernet data-logging software provides a link between the Oracle database and programmable logic controller.

Now, PMT is developing plans to monitor resin-dryer energy consumption.

For the past three years, PMT made significant quality gains. PMT cut internal defective parts per million by 38 percent and external defective parts by 54 percent, and reduced scrap materials by 26 percent.

PMT operates 56 horizontal injection molding presses of 22-390 tons, primarily from Toshiba, Nissei and Milacron, and seven vertical insert molding machines of 40-150 tons, mostly from Engel, Autojector, Nissei and Battenfeld. Twenty-two presses are energy-saving all-electric machines, and the remaining units are hydraulic.

The company uses insert molding for about 35 percent of its plastics processing, and conventional molding for the remainder. Small precision parts include gears, bushings, bobbins and knobs.

From 2001-09, PMT and partner Esox SRO operated a low-cost toolmaking joint venture in Liptovský Ján, Slovakia. “The JV has been dissolved,” said Charles A. Sholtis, who visited the facility in December. “It was a success, and our partner Tibor Tekel still runs the business.”

Tekel wants to send two students from an engineering school in Slovakia for lengthy internships at the PMT plant. “We have [done] that with them in the past,” Sholtis said.

During 2012, PMT obtained about 65 molds from Asian businesses and two other molds from domestic shops.

Already accredited under ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 9001, PMT is pursuing certification under ISO 13485 and aims to meet that milestone in January 2014.