TransNav Technologies Inc. is boosting its sales with automotive speaker grille technology developed in Austria. The Clinton Township, Mich., custom injection molder recently received a contract to mold speaker grilles for Ford's F-Series trucks, according to Ilja Vreeken, TransNav's general manager. The acetal grille will save costs by replacing an expanded metal grille, Vreeken said in a telephone interview.
TransNav is the North American patent holder for a molded-in-scrim plastic speaker grille developed by Feinwerk Technik GmbH of Vienna, Austria, Vreeken explained. It received its first grille molding contract last July for Volkswagen's Puebla, Mexico, plant. Vreeken said his firm expects to be awarded a contract soon to mold acetal grilles for Ford's Windstar minivans.
``We've been approached by Ford to save money on the grilles, which now cost about $2.25 each in expanded metal.''
Vreeken said the molded-in-scrim acetal versions typically cost about half that of metal grilles.
TransNav would supply the grilles to Automotive Industries Inc. of Strasburg, Va., for the F-Series truck.
Vreeken said the Volkswagen contract pushed his firm's total sales to more than $6 million last year. In the previous year its sales were about $5 million, about half of which were from custom injection molding.
It began custom molding about three years ago after supplying molds made offshore for several years. It specialized in molding polyphenylene sulfide while developing the market for acetal/scrim grilles. It mainly molds for automotive and medical markets.
TransNav, a privately held firm, spent about $500,000 last year to expand its molding capacity with three new presses. It has seven presses, all Kawaguchi models, with clamping forces of 80-400 tons. It offers engineering, tool building and repair services. Vreeken said his firm is working with General Motors Corp. to develop plastic under-the-hood parts to replace metal.