Jacobson Manufacturing Co. Inc. is adding 36,000 square feet of space and six injection molding machines at its New Braunfels, Texas, plant to meet market growth in the region. The expansion boosts custom molding capacity there to 80,000 square feet and 28 presses, all Van Dorn Demags. Four 500-ton HT toggle machines and two 770-ton HP hydraulic presses will be installed by June 1, said Scott Kelley, vice president of sales.
Texas Jacobson expects sales of $15 million to $16 million this year, he said in a recent telephone interview from Texas.
The undisclosed investment includes installation of one 300-and one 170-ton Van Dorn at Jacobson's 46,000-square-foot Tempe, Ariz., plant, making it a 31-press operation by May.
But, ``Texas is the region and the customer base that's expanding,'' Kelley said.
``We ran out of room. That's just the start. We expect to purchase more machines, probably as many as four to six machines by the end of the year.''
Texas Jacobson has space for as many as 50 presses, he said.
In Texas, the company's core markets include automotive and business equipment, and its customer mix includes Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., IBM, Delco Electronics, ITT Automotive and Ford Motor Co. That business calls for large-tonnage presses, said Paul Parker, Jacobson president and chief executive.
``All the types of products we've been trying to home in on, or create a niche in, require a larger-tonnage machine,'' he said.
The company supplies other industries - including housewares, plumbing, outdoor equipment and telecommunications. The Tempe plant is heavily into medical work, accounting for about 30-40 percent of its sales, Kelley said. The firm has a 50,000-square-foot plastics operation with 19 presses on 26 acres in Sanford, N.C.
Kelley said recent growth at New Braunfels involves creating an engineering hub, requiring a larger engineering staff, toolroom capabilities and computer-aided-design equipment.
``The other thing we're pushing, at least at the Texas operation, is insert molding,'' he said. ``We're looking at that being a high-growth area.''
Parker said his firm's strength in both plastics and metals, and its marriage of the two through insert molding, give it a wider range of products.
Jacobson makes the inserts at its metal-working plants in Altoona, Pa.; Medina, Ohio; and Kenilworth, N.J.- also corporate headquarters for engineering and research and development.
The firm also molds engineered precision parts, such as internal printer mechanisms for Texas Instruments Inc., and ``an inordinate amount of gears,'' Kelley said. The company also will mold the battery housing for one carmaker's 1997 model year electric vehicle. Secondary operations include hot stamping, assembly and painting.
Together the plastics operations employ about 318, and the firm expects to add workers as need dictates.
Harvey Jacobson founded the private firm in 1949 as a metal-working concern. In 1989, Jacobson began custom molding plastics at Tempe.
Kelley estimated 1994 companywide custom molding sales at $35 million to $40 million.
As for plans, ``We have visions of expanding every one of the plastics plants,'' Kelley said.