Seljan launches injection molding unit

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: August 28, 2013 1:28 pm ET
Updated: August 28, 2013 3:58 pm ET

Image By: Seljan Co. Inc. Seljan's rotational molding operation has gained three more Ferry machines since the company relocated to the plant in Lake Mills, Wis.

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding, Rotomolding

Rotational molder and metal fabricator Seljan Co. Inc. has added an injection molding division, buying six small-tonnage Boy presses for its giant 500,000-square-foot factory in Lake Mills, Wis.

President Scott Seljan, a journeyman toolmaker, said injection molds were his first projects at the family business when he entered that career in the 1970s. Seljan ended up going in another direction, of metal fabrication and then, in the early 1980s, fabricated molds for rotomolding machines, which evolved into rotomolding. But hands-on tool and die expertise have remained a foundation of the company.

Getting into injection molding, the company has come full circle. "I've been wanting to do injection molding for 30 years. This is the first time we've had the space," Seljan said.

That's an understatement. In July 2012, Seljan bought the factory building, a vacant refrigeration equipment complex known as "Big Blue" in the small Wisconsin town. Seljan moved from its 30,000-square-foot headquarters rotomolding plant, and an unwieldy metal fab plant, into the cavernous structure. The site has such a huge lawn and parking lot that Lake Mills holds its Fourth of July fireworks show there

The company has made some major investments in the year since moving into the massive space: three more Ferry rotomolding machines, a new in-house powder coating department for metal parts, an expansion of its urethane molding operations, a MakerBot 3-D printer, new Milltronics computer numerically controlled milling machines — and now, the six Boy injection presses.

"The investment that we've made in equipment this year exceeds a million dollars," Seljan said in a mid-August phone interview.

In mid-July, the company hired Brad Collins, a Wisconsin plastics veteran, to become vice president of the injection molding division. He has moved quickly to assemble the injection molding area in a 30,000-square-foot bay. "By the time the end of August rolls around, we'll be an injection molder," Collins said.

Collins said the injection molding operation will need to hire about 20 people to run three shifts.

And Seljan officials are already thinking about a clean room molding area, in part of the big former office space, to serve a new medical customer.

Collins' background includes operational and management positions at Flambeau Inc., Dutchland Plastics Corp., and Midwest Plastic Products.

The new milling machines will allow Seljan to make molds for the new injection molding department. The company has a long history of metalworking to make metal stamping dies and fixtures for its metal fabrication operations and producing fabricated rotational molds.

All the Boy presses have clamping forces under 200 tons. Seljan's initial strategy is to injection mold parts for its own rotomolded parts — like large wheels for agricultural irrigation equipment and waste receptacles, and custom-molded parts for lawn and garden, medical furniture, material handling and other markets. Collins also plans to do custom molding for those same customers.

"That's been one of the beauties of this. We're not starting from scratch and not out pounding the pavement looking for customers," said R. Dru Laws, vice president of the Rotomolding Division.

Laws said Seljan is now a full-service company. Technicians can use the 3-D printer to whip out a few sample parts, then Seljan can do limited production of cast urethane parts and if the product takes off, can do full-scale rotomolding and injection molding.

The solar-panel sector is one example of the new full-service capability. Seljan's metal-fabrication business already makes outer frames for solar panels, and Seljan now will be injection molding ballast pads to replace former metal pads. Seljan will assemble the frames and pads, reducing costs for the customer, Scott Seljan said.

He said the company may even get into blow molding. "I would imagine that in time, this is a direction that I would want to go," he said.

When Seljan moved into the half-million-square-foot building a year ago, the company bought its sixth rotomolding machine, a Ferry RS-220, to minimize disruption while they moved the five machines from the old plant. Since then Seljan has purchased two more Ferrys. Seljan started production on the eighth and biggest one, a three-arm Ferry 3000, in early August.

August is proving to be a big month. Seljan will begin powder coating and injection molding. Management has installed energy-efficient lighting, and even added a fountain in front of the plant. The company is hiring to fill new jobs for injection molding and expanded rotomolding production.


Comments

Seljan launches injection molding unit

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: August 28, 2013 1:28 pm ET
Updated: August 28, 2013 3:58 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Major packaging merger includes plastics operations

January 26, 2015 12:24 pm ET

A merger of packaging companies MeadWestvaco Corp. and Rock-Tenn Inc. will create a new company with nearly $16 billion in annual sales.    More

Image

Material Insights: PP production issues, preparing for NPE

January 26, 2015 1:38 pm ET

Production problems in Texas add more complication for polypropylene, Entek has new equipment ready to show compounders at NPE and we take a look...    More

Image

Viking Plastics honored for employee relations

January 26, 2015 12:43 pm ET

Custom injection molder Viking Plastics has won DevelopErie’s 2014 Employer of the Year Award for manufacturing in the Erie, Pa., region.    More

Image

Continental builds low-emission interior trim factory in China

January 26, 2015 12:33 pm ET

Benecke-Kaliko AG is making the largest investment in its history to build an environmentally friendly auto interior trim plant in China, prompted by ...    More

Image

Berry's rebranded Blue Clover expands packaging design reach

January 23, 2015 1:59 pm ET

As design director of Berry Plastics Corp.'s rebranded packaging design studio, Scott Fisher believes the new name of Blue Clover Studios cuts the hea...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events