Gage Industries Inc. is expanding into twin-sheet pressure forming and moving its heavy-gauge business to a new site. Conditions have become cramped at the firm's 130,000-square-foot plant in Lake Oswego, Ore., hampering it from taking on new projects, according to Lizbeth Gage, vice president.
``For the last year or two, business has been just bursting at the seams,'' she said in a recent telephone interview. ``To take on ad-ditional business and grow with that, we needed more space.''
To that end, Gage plans to relocate its industrial thermoforming to another, leased Oregon facility. It is mulling several undisclosed sites, and has two proposals on the table, she said. After a cost analysis, the firm ruled out building a second plant, since the 18-month wait to move in would have resulted in lost sales.
The Lake Oswego plant will continue to house the firm's sheet extrusion and thermoformed packaging operations, including seven in-line thermoformers. As for the new plant, Gage said it must meet a host of criteria, including an efficient layout, plenty of shipping doors, the availability of water and power, and the potential for future expansion.
Also important, the cities must show a ``willingness to work with our industry,'' she said.
Gage recently installed its first pressure former for industrial work. A large Brown twin-sheet rotary press is due in early May, and also will add to the company's heavy-gage capabilities making products for the medical, recreational, electronics and heavy-truck industries, among others.
A three-station rotary vacuum former, still in its crate, will be set up after the move. She said it was too soon to provide details
about the move.
At the National Design En-gineering Show in Chicago, Gage, which does a national business but generally attends trade shows closer to home, made its debut as a Midwest exhibitor, she said.
Gage sales representative Terry Giulio said March 18 at the company's booth that it probably will convert some vacuum formed parts, such as housings, to pressure forming.
Roughly 95 percent of Gage's total business is customized; but it also offers stock packaging products.
Gage would disclose neither thermoforming nor sheet extrusion sales; but, she said the company sells millions of dollars of sheet each year to niche markets.
The firm employs about 250. It was founded in 1958 by Rip and Betty Gage, Lizbeth's parents. Her brother, Jeff, is president.