MGS Enterprises Inc. is adding a new piece to its growing array of mold-making and design services: assembly-line production.
The tooling company will make complete assembly-line packages for plastics molders at a new, 82,000-square-foot building adjacent to its Germantown, Wis., MGS Technical Center. The plant, scheduled to open in late August, also will feature a toolmaking area to boost the company's mold-building capacity.
Manufacturing of prepackaged and tested assembly lines goes beyond what few, if any, mold makers have attempted. Tom Garcia, manager of marketing programs at the National Tooling & Machining Association in Fort Washington, Md., could not recall any of the association's 2,700 member companies producing assembly-line systems.
MGS officials believe the start-up operation represents a natural evolution for the tooling industry. Sending a thoroughly tested mold and assembly operation to a customer can significantly reduce time to market, said MGS chief executive officer Mark G. Sellers.
``Lots of problems and issues can come up with tooling,'' Sellers said. ``Instead of going back and forth with moderate mold changes, we can reduce that time, sometimes by months, by controlling [testing] for both molds and assembly lines under one roof.''
The operation, which will be called Plastics Manufacturing Corp., complements a litany of independently owned companies carrying the MGS banner. Those companies include production mold builder Moldmakers Inc. in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Prototype Mold and Design Inc., mold finishing firm Redline Inc. and injection mold sampling and qualifying company Statistical Plastics Corp. The latter three companies are based at the Germantown technical center.
MGS co-founder Sellers is a majority shareholder in each of MGS' 15 privately held member companies.
The venture will cost about $9 million in plant construction and start-up costs, Sellers said. Of that total, MGS will invest $4 million to build the facility. The other $5 million was raised through a stock offering to both internal and outside investors. Shares were sold at $5 apiece in 1,000-share blocks, Sellers said.
Three-quarters of the new plant will be devoted to assembly line manufacture. The separate equipment will be purchased from outside suppliers and tailored to a customer's needs.
Packages can consist of such items as conveyor systems, parts assembly equipment, injection presses, automated material handling systems, mold jigs and fixtures, and equipment to run secondary operations such as sonic welding, Sellers said.
The company plans to operate each completed assembly line for approximately three to six months to perform quality checks and product analyses. The assembly line and corresponding tooling will then be relocated to a customer's facility.
``What we're really doing is taking the process all the way through,'' Sellers said. ``We won't have to make the mold, send it elsewhere and let another company add fixturing and assembly equipment.''
The facility will also include a tooling shop featuring six computer numerically controlled milling machines, 12 CNC machining centers and other grinders and boring equipment.
The company anticipates plant sales of $10 million to $12 million for the first 12 months of operation. MGS already has a $6 million backlog in contracts due to begin by September, Sellers said.
The toolmaker works with a variety of customers in the telecommunications, electronics, medical and specialized automotive fields. It opened the $10 million technical center in September on a 23-acre site northwest of Milwaukee. Two other buildings are planned at the site within the next five years.
MGS recorded $36 million in sales during 1996, Sellers said. Company officials have said that they anticipated revenues to increase to more than $50 million this year.