Ironwood Plastics Inc. has launched a two-year, $4 million project to double the size of its headquarters plant and boost injection molding capacity. In June the company began adding 20,000 square feet to its 22,000-square-foot Ironwood, Mich., facility, said spokesman Scott Stephens. By spring the plant will add three injection molding machines to its stable of 16, including a second vertical press; the first, an 85-tonner, was added several months ago, he said.
Ironwood will use those two vertical presses for two automotive contracts scheduled for early next year. The labor-intensive machines also will require 12 new people - two per press, per shift, Stephens said.
The Michigan plant, which employs 85, plans to have roughly 130 workers and 25 presses, with clamping forces of 45-250 tons, by 1998, he said. A second molding plant, in Two Rivers, Wis., employs 35.
Stephens projects this year's sales at about $9.5 million. His father, Gordon, has headed the small, family-operated outfit since its 1979 founding. Besides automotive, the company serves electronic, industrial and defense markets, molding mainly nylon, he said.
Auto parts include radiator caps and fuel shut-off values for first-tier suppliers. It also makes computer cable devices, temperature-control units for injection presses, among other machines, and a few defense components, such as an altitude sensor for cluster bombs.
In Michigan, Ironwood also will renovate its toolroom, mold storage system and warehouse area. Other new equipment at the Ironwood plant will include a Motan materials-handling system, PRO/Engineer and PRO/Manufacturing programs for tooling, computer numerically controlled milling machines and a wire electric discharge machine, Stephens said.