TransNav Technologies Inc. continues to expand injection molding capacity with a joint operating agreement with Ohio Art Co. of Bryan, Ohio. TransNav expects that its current internal expansion won't be able to keep pace with growth of its molded speaker-grille business, according to the firm's general manager, Percy Vreeken.
Internal expansion plans are based on previously booked business but ``new business forced us to go out looking for other solutions,'' Vreeken said in a telephone interview fromTransNav's head office in Clinton Township, Mich.
TransNav's agreement with Ohio Art gives it access to Strydel Inc., Ohio Art's 17-press molding and assembly subsidiary in Stryker, Ohio. Vreeken said the agreement is more than contracting for press time but he would not explain it further. Strydel general manager Hugh Heiermann also would not disclose details of the agreement, deferring explanation to Ohio Art officials who were unavailable.
Strydel will operate as Trans-Nav Ohio, TransNav announced in a July 5 news release.
Audio speaker grille molding for automotive applications is TransNav's fastest-growing business. Vreeken attributed the business to his firm's joint venture agreement with Feinwerktechnik GmbH of Austria, which developed the grille technology.He did not disclose customers of the speaker grilles. It also does high-speed, precision molding for other automotive, appliance, medical and toy markets.
TransNav is continuing with a $2 million expansion, Vreeken said. It built a 40,000-square-foot facility in Chesterfield, Mich., and will move its administration, molding and engineering operations there in August, keeping its Clinton Township facility for a warehouse.
It also plans to buy nine new Van Dorn presses this year and install them in Chesterfield with its current seven Kawaguchi presses with clamping forces as great as 396 tons.
Strydel's presses have clamping forces as great as 500 tons, Heiermann said. It has about 70 employees in the 135,000-square-foot plant.
Heiermann said Ohio Art bought his firm more than 30 years ago and, until recently, most of its work was molding components for Ohio Art's Etch-A-Sketch and other toys. Four years ago Ohio Art began sourcing most molded components offshore, forcing Strydel to expand its custom molding business.
Heiermann said Strydel now molds for automotive, consumer goods, appliance and other manufacturers. He said it has a Ford Q-1 rating.
``Our molding expertise and their grille technology sets up a good opportunity,'' Heiermann said.
He expects to double employment at Stryker when the Trans-Nav deal fully impacts the operation.