Liquid rubber and plastics manufacturer Smooth-On Inc., a producer of a variety of molds for multiple industries, has been running its factory constantly for most of the last eight years and finally has decided to move to a larger facility.
The Easton, Pa.-based manufacturer has purchased a 380,000-square-foot facility in nearby Lower Macungie Township, Pa., to help ensure its growth doesn’t hamper operations. In addition, Smooth-On will hire about 30 employees for a variety of positions over the next 12-18 months, said Clay Western, co-owner and vice president of sales.
The positions will be spread among a variety of roles ranging from production and manufacturing to research and development, along with a number of office positions including sales and marketing, Western said.
Smooth-On offers a unique group of liquid rubber and plastic products that have been used as special effects in television shows and movies, including Jurassic Park, the Matrix and Harry Potter.
The majority of the firm’s business, though, comes from producing products for the construction, mining, architectural, concrete and other similar segments. These industries use Smooth-On products for restoration molders and product prototype molds, among other applications. Smooth-On also has helped artists in transforming sculptures from clay or wax to bronze.
“We have unique products and provide a high quality of service, and there is always some level of demand for those unique products,” Western said in explaining his company’s ongoing growth. Revenue figures were not disclosed.
“Mining has stayed pretty consistent over the last few years, and while the construction industry was down [during the 2008-10 recession] it has slowly climbed back,” Western said. “We remain pretty diversified though in [multiple] industries. [Business in] most of our trades has remained steady.”
Smooth-On’s products require mixing of various chemicals, which are considered hazardous waste materials, adding some complexity to the company’s move from Easton, he said. The move is expected to take place later this year. Smooth-On has purchased the new facility and already has a buyer for its 80,000-square-foot plant and office in Easton. Western declined to reveal details of the transactions.
“Our land could not support another expansion, so we had literally grown out of our surroundings,” he said. “It’s a move made for operational efficiencies. We were literally bursting at the seams and now have infinitely more warehouse space.
“We had products sitting in the middle of the aisles, which is never a good thing,” Western added. “This will allow us to better handle raw materials, storage tanks and more.”
The company was established more than 25 years ago. Smooth-On has distribution centers in major cities across the U.S. and in Europe, but the Easton location is the company’s only manufacturing facility. Its new building will require significant upgrades, such as electrical work, to make the plant compatible with Smooth-On’s equipment.
“We don’t really have a secret. It’s just making good products that customers continue to gravitate to,” Western said. “It’s all about the product.”