Trostel expands business, upgrades two facilities

Bruce Meyer
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: December 27, 2013 6:46 pm ET
Updated: December 27, 2013 6:56 pm ET

Image By: Bruce Meyer Trostel executives Greg Vassmer (left) and Steven Dyer pose outside of the firm's headquarters in Lake Geneva, Wis.

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding

LAKE GENEVA, WIS. — Trostel Ltd. is expanding all facets of its business with a series of projects that will impact both its rubber molding and compounding operations.

The company is building an addition onto its headquarters facility in Lake Geneva that will bring some manufacturing to the site; it just completed a building expansion at its Whitewater, Wis., compounding division that will allow for the addition of new capital equipment; and it is upgrading equipment and focusing on lean manufacturing efforts at its molding factory in Reynosa, Mexico.

Trostel didn't put a price tag on the investments required for all of the projects, but President and CEO Steven Dyer said the expansion at the Lake Geneva unit will run a "few million dollars."

At that site, the company is adding 30,000 square feet of high bay manufacturing space and renovating the office area. When completed by the end of March, Lake Geneva will serve as Trostel's global headquarters and also host research and development, launch preparation, prototype manufacturing and some production, said Greg Vassmer, chief technology and quality officer.

"This is built to reflect this being our world headquarters and our innovation center," Dyer said. "It will have our material analysis lab and our material testing capabilities. We can put the product in its applications and test various forces, functionality and environmental constraints to be able to take that data back to the customer to say this is what the data says about the selection and design we have chosen."

The production area will have compression, injection and transfer presses, Vassmer said. Right now, most of the presses on-site are prototype size, but once the addition is completed, larger tonnage presses will be added.

"Our overall vision is to prototype, trial and launch programs here," Dyer said, "and then we can deploy that process wherever around the globe that is optimum for our customers."

Vassmer said one of the thoughts behind having some manufacturing at Lake Geneva was to allow engineers to see firsthand the problems of manufacturing. "They won't just be putting theoretical processes in place," he said. "They will actually be working on something that they are able to try out and see how it works."

Trostel has been sending engineers out frequently to the plants to see what they just designed, according to Vassmer, because "it never seems like it runs like it did when prototyping."

"The goal isn't for this to be a huge manufacturing facility," he said. "It's going to be a place where we figure out how to manufacture things. We will keep manufacturing things here that give us some value and give the customers some value."

Dyer said one customer will be sourcing product there to promote "Made in the USA" processes. "I'm not sure whether that is driven by the marketing and branding group, or if it's an internal drive and desire," he said. "But the economics have to make sense. If the economics don't make sense, they wouldn't do this."

Trostel already has added a new chemist and plans to add 20 employees in Lake Geneva by the end of next year. "The new facility will help our team develop even more innovative ideas and solutions to address the challenges our customers face," Dyer said.

The company produces precision seals and custom molded rubber products for the appliance, automotive and general industrial markets.

Compounding expansion

Trostel also is a compounder of proprietary elastomer mixes. It just finished a 10,000-sq.-ft. addition at the Whitewater facility that it said will allow for more equipment, improve material flow and also boost efficiency and safety.

With growth in the compounding division in recent years, Dyer said Trostel now has more recipes that require more raw materials, and the unit needed more space to eliminate congestion issues and give the business a proper environment in which to operate. "This was a necessary investment for our organization to prepare us for the next level of growth in that business," he said.

The unit currently has a large mixer for production batches along with a smaller mixer for prototyping and smaller batches. The company still is deciding in what form it will add new capacity, be it in a new large mixer or multiple smaller ones that give more flexibility.

"We as a team are evaluating those opportunities to see where we create the most value and where that is," Dyer said. "Our ability to add value there is in consistency of mix and dispersion of very difficult mixes; mixes that have a very tight specification or tolerance range due to the application; and in developing applications that live in extreme environments."

A good deal of the mixing goes for Trostel's molding operation, which ranks as the sixth largest customer for the compounding business. "It's a substantial part of our business, but we're still much larger on our custom mix outside than captive."

Dyer said the molding unit rarely comes up against customers of the mixing business in the marketplace. "We don't seem to bump into them a lot in the quoting realm," he said. "A lot of those customers are very specific in applications or have a niche, and may have their own branded products."

He said Trostel's $70 million in annual revenues are split fairly equally between molding and mixing.

A complete version of this story is available at RubberNews.com.


Comments

Trostel expands business, upgrades two facilities

Bruce Meyer
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: December 27, 2013 6:46 pm ET
Updated: December 27, 2013 6:56 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Mission Plastics brings new automated work cell on line

August 26, 2014 4:17 pm ET

Custom injection molder Mission Plastics Inc. and a customer have created a $1.5-million automated work cell for a medical diagnostics product.    More

Image

Sonoco buys Germany's Weidenhammer, plans for thin-walled packaging growth

August 25, 2014 1:41 pm ET

Sonoco Products Co.'s acquisition of Weidenhammer Packaging Group GmbH of Germany includes plastic packaging technology that the company is targeting ...    More

Image

New contract for JCI workers heads off potential strike in Ontario

August 25, 2014 3:17 pm ET

About 300 unionized workers at a Johnson Controls Inc. interiors plant in Ontario ratified a new three-year contract, heading off a potential strike...    More

Image

Making the most of complexity

August 22, 2014 1:02 pm ET

In the global market for injection molded parts, custom molders have tried a million different ways to differentiate themselves from the pack. Make...    More

Image

German injection molders Metz-Werke and Inotech to collaborate

August 21, 2014 11:47 am ET

German injection molding companies Metz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG and Inotech Kunststofftechnik GmbH have announced that they have joined forces to bring th...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

More Events