CHICAGO-Grimm Bros. Plastics Corp. is growing. The company is doubling its 43,000-square-foot plant in Wa-pello, Iowa, and plans to add two pressure forming machines and 30 workers during the next two years, General Manager Chris Grimm said March 20 at the National Design Engineering Show in Chicago. The add-on should be ready by April or May, and will expand tooling and manufacturing areas. The first machine could be in by year's end.
The firm needs more capacity to meet in-time deliveries for customers that include StairMaster Sports/Medical Products LP of Tulsa, Okla., and Winnebago Industries Inc. of Forest City, Iowa, he said.
In fact, Grimm is the main vendor of pressure formed housings for StairMaster's exercise ma-chines, which also require assembly, and screen printing, he said.
Grimm Bros., which currently has five thermoforming machines, builds its own equipment, designing in features such as an ergonomic loading and unloading station on a four-station rotary. Since the machines' designers spend half their time trouble-shooting the process, "they can use that knowledge to improve machine design," Grimm said.
The hands-on approach also helps keep costs down, for the company and its customers, he said.
The brothers Grimm, formerly in the construction business, even are helping to build their plant.
"They are physically out there," he said of his brothers — co-founders Kent, who heads the firm, and his twin, Curt, vice president; and Steve, a shift supervisor.
Grimm Bros., which employs 75, is a long way — 10 years to be exact — from its start-up days working out of a farm building.
Since then, it has expanded several times, both in size and know-how.
Pressure forming makes up most of the company's $5 million or so in sales, though the company also runs vacuum forming machines and does a small bit of twin-sheet molding — such as a table top for a medical cart, which was on display at its Design Show booth.
Fire-rated ABS sheets sandwich a two-part rigid urethane foam filler; the part is manufactured for OEC Medical Systems of Warsaw, Ind.