Thermoformer Hampel Corp. is bigger than its 46,000-square-foot plant in Germantown, Wis. ``We're quite cramped right now,'' said spokeswoman Laurie Arendt.
In response to steady growth, the company is adding 20,000 square feet and two new thermoforming machines, bringing its total lines to eight, Arendt said in a recent telephone interview. Roughly half of the new area will be used for more manufacturing, the rest for its warehouse and shipping, she said. Construction, under way since May 5, should be completed by October.
The cost of the expansion was undisclosed.
In November, Hampel will install one Brown Machine rotary-motion vacuum former, to be followed by a second in January. Those machines will mean an increase in labor, as yet undetermined, Arendt said. The company now employs 55 in pro-duction, and 20 more in admini-stration, management, sales and accounting.
Hampel's sales grew nearly 24 percent between 1993 and 1994, from $7.45 million to $9.22 million, according to Plastics News data. Hampel is known for its production of very large pieces, Arendt said. The new vacuum machines will expand its deep-draw capacity for a proprietary line of hutches for raising calves and hogs, the largest of which is 60 inches deep. She said the firm has deep-draw capability for parts as deep as 70 inches.
Come January, Hampel also plans to extend twin-sheet forming to its customers. Twin sheeting offers particular benefits, in terms of durability and strength, for the firm's reusable plastic packaging - the trays, pallets and totes it sells to such customers as AlliedSignal Inc. of Morristown, N.J., and Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee, Arendt said.
``We can do a lot with our design work with twin sheeting that we couldn't do before,'' she said.
The reusable products are used for shipping between companies' plants, and can be color coded for easier routing. Trays are custom formed to each product's specific dimensions.
Another growth area for the company, she said, is custom parts, generally made of polyethylene or ABS, for the lawn and garden, marine, recreational and transportation markets. Among those products are belt shields and guards for John Deere tractors and fairings for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
For the past six months, Hampel has been developing a system for quick-change tooling that is to be installed on all its thermoforming equipment.