Polyfab adding more room for automation and molding

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: July 17, 2014 12:02 pm ET
Updated: July 17, 2014 12:07 pm ET

Image By: Polyfab Corp. Polyfab will bring in additional automation equipment as part of its $10 million expansion.

Related to this story

Topics United States, Industrial, Injection Molding

Polyfab Corp. is expanding its automation and injection molding capacity.

The Sheboygan, Wis., company will spend more than $10 million to build a plant addition and equip it with extensive robotics and other automation equipment and new injection presses.

“We are continuing to grow at 11 percent a year and are running out of room,” said Polyfab President and Chairman Rick Gill in a phone interview.

In addition to more press-side robotics, Polyfab will install an in-plant product transportation system with guided vehicles to deliver filled boxes to a pallet-wrapping station. Gill said the transportation system will be used for high-volume jobs in the new 52,000-square-foot addition, which could be completed by late November. Some production in the current 50,000-square-foot facility will be moved into the addition to take advantage of the higher level of automation.

Gill said the investments are part of its ongoing efficiency program. As less time is needed per employee at injection presses, they are being cross-trained to take on more responsibilities.

Gill said the building addition will have room for 20 presses. Polyfab has two new presses for installation there and will add more as business demands. The firm now runs 18 presses with clamp forces of 35 to 700 tons. Sheboygan’s Plan Commission has approved supporting the project. Polyfab has requested the city issue industrial development revenue bonds for the project.

Polyfab is a diverse molder with annual sales of about $15 million. It employs 67 but expects to add 35 more over three years after the expansion comes on stream.

Polyfab’s quality control capabilities allowed it to capture new business in 2011 making valves and fittings for a company that supplies components for natural gas distribution. Gill said the job is a demanding one. It involves bimodal high density polyethylene, a difficult material to mold to the precise dimensions required for the parts. The application demands a resin with an exceptionally long lifetime underground.

“In the natural gas industry, if you make a bad part you can blow up a house,” Gill warned.

Polyfab installed special cavity pressure control equipment for molding the gas-line parts.

Polyfab is one of the molders that captured the gas-line components work after the undisclosed customer shut down its internal division that was doing the molding. The new work helped offset a big chunk of business it lost to its former main customer in the food production industry.

Other important markets for Polyfab are packaging and medical. It runs a clean molding cell in its climate-controlled facility. Other capabilities include insert and overmolding, decorating, assembly, lights-out production and a tool room.

Polyfab is a family-owned business started by Rick’s parents, John and Millie Gill in 1971. Gill has emphasized productivity since he took over the company’s reins in 1985.


Comments

Polyfab adding more room for automation and molding

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: July 17, 2014 12:02 pm ET
Updated: July 17, 2014 12:07 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Cascade Engineering founder Keller to step down as CEO

September 16, 2014 8:33 pm ET

Cascade Engineering Inc. is undergoing a transition as President Mark Miller will also add the role of CEO, replacing founder Fred Keller, who has...    More

Image

DuPont investing $100 million for more ethylene copolymer capacity

September 16, 2014 1:51 pm ET

Increased packaging demand is leading materials giant DuPont Co. to spend more than $100 million to increase capacity for ethylene copolymers at its...    More

Image

SPE Thermoforming Division picks 3 scholarship winners

September 16, 2014 4:25 pm ET

Three college students have earned scholarships through the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division, division officials announced at...    More

Image

Canadian, Mexican injection molders form auto supply joint venture

September 16, 2014 2:26 pm ET

A new automotive parts manufacturer will open in Querétaro, Mexico, through a joint venture between Canadian automotive supplier Papp Plastics and...    More

Image

American Renolit sees steady gains in the film market

September 16, 2014 11:51 am ET

American Renolit Corp. has changed its product mix, changed its customer base and managed to grow in a market that was initially skeptical about the c...    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events