Custom molder Precision Plastic & Die Co. wants to get bigger to solidify its automotive parts business. The Ithaca, Mich., firm recently completed an expansion and upgrade costing more than $750,000, but Chairman Ben Schwegman is looking at further growth through acquisition.
``We are primarily interested in firms based in the Midwest,'' Schwegman said in a telephone interview. Precision Plastic is interested in acquiring a molder with annual sales of up to $3 million. Potential candidates need not focus on auto parts.
Schwegman said auto manufacturers and their major suppliers are strongly encouraging their suppliers to get ISO 9000 or similar quality certification by 1997. They also expect custom molders to be larger to handle more of their needs.
Precision Plastic has looked at some acquisition opportunities but did not find them attractive because the asking price was too high relative to the firms' capabilities. Schwegman said his firm is not now in any serious discussions. In the meantime, it is setting up sales representatives in the Midwest to help boost sales.
He estimated Precision Plastic's annual sales at ``just over $5 million.'' It has 13 presses for thermoplastic, thermoset, transfer and compression molding and a new paint line for solvent-borne and waterborne coatings.
The company earlier this month began operating its 13th press, a 375-ton reconditioned HPM model. The press, dedicated to thermoset molding, improves the shop's efficiency because it eliminates the need for screw changes on other presses that mainly mold thermoplastics.
The new paint line, which replaced a smaller line in a leased, off-site plant, began running at Ithaca early this year. The line paints auto and other parts molded by Precision Plastic and also does custom coating for other firms. Precision Plastic made room for the line by building a 4,500-square-foot addition early this year.
The Ithaca molder makes parts for auto interiors, steering systems, transmissions and engines. It also molds for electrical and petroleum customers and is in development programs with military suppliers. Schwegman acquired Precision Plastics in 1989, 24 years after it was established. It employs about 60.