Wamar Products Inc. in Caledonia, Mich., completed a $1.5 million expansion in December that doubled its manufacturing space. It now operates 29 injection molding presses with clamping forces of 28-700 tons.
Jim Martin, Wamar molding manager, said the building expansion alone cost $1 million, with the remainder spent on seven new presses now in operation. Employment rose from 140 employees before the expansion to 200 now.
Before the expansion, Wamar had 22 presses with clamping forces of 28-400 tons.
The latest machine additions since expansion began in May 1994 include one machine each with 85, 230, 300 and 700 tons of clamping force and three with 400 tons. Another 700-ton machine has been ordered and should be installed in the next four months. All of the new presses are from Van Dorn Demag, Martin said.
Wamar now has 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space, up from 42,000 square feet that also included office space prior to the expansion.
Wamar subsidiaries include those for mold making. Five recently installed computer-aided design workstations speed up and refine the mold-making process, Martin said. Half of the company's mold making now goes through the CAD process.
Further expansion at the same location will include enlarging the toolroom, which formerly took up part of the manufacturing space. The expansion is necessary because the firm's eight journeymen mold makers ``are literally bumping into each other,'' he said.
Nonetheless, there's still room in the upgraded facility for four more presses, he said.
Software by Mattec Corp. of Loveland, Ohio, provides Wamar with complete real-time data monitoring on the shop floor, according to Rick Post, Mattec district sales manager.
The software programmed into all Wamar's presses allows instant review of scheduling, production, scrap utilization - even machine maintenance - to reduce downtime and increase production, Post said.
Family-owned Wamar expects to have 1995 sales of $12 million, up from about $10 million in 1994 and $7.4 million in 1993. About 40 percent of its business is automotive. It continues to be a Tier 2 supplier to the Big Three automakers.
Another 40 percent is in the office furniture area. Wamar supplies such original equipment makers as Donnelly Corp. of Holland, Mich., with parts to make interior lighting and mirrors for the automotive industry, Martin said. Appliance and miscellaneous markets make up the remaining 20 percent.
Martin, 37, said Wamar is a name drawn from that of his father, Wayne Martin, who opened the business in 1969 and who remains active in semiretirement.
Jim Martin, whose background is in mold making, has been a full-time employee since 1978. His brother, Mike, 41, joined the company two years ago and is now general manager.