World Class Plastics Inc. is building a facility to meet its custom injection molding growth in automotive and appliance parts.
The Lakeview, Ohio, firm expects to complete a 32,100-square-foot plant in nearby Russells Point and relocate molding there by early February. It broke ground for the plant Oct. 3.
President Steve Buchenroth said his firm will invest about $1.5 million in new injection presses by 2003. It will take delivery of the first press, a 300-ton Sumitomo, in February. During the next several years it plans to buy about 15 more Sumitomos, with clamping forces of 50-500 tons, Buchenroth said in a telephone interview. The company now operates 14 Sumitomo presses in two 5,000-square-foot plants.
World Class started molding in September 1994 and has grown to estimated sales of $3.7 million this year. Buchenroth and two other senior managers, Neil Schroer and Scott Wisneiwski, own the 40-employee firm.
World Class has been molding about 11 million close-tolerance parts a month and its volume will go up with a new contract to mold and assemble automotive air ducts for an undisclosed company. It makes cams, gears, bearings, clips, fasteners and similar components.
The company's largest automotive customer is Nippon Industrial Fastening Co. of Hilliard, Ohio. A major appliance customer is North American Sankyo Corp., for which it makes gears used in defrost timers in General Electric appliances. World Class molds nylon, ABS, acetal, thermoplastic elastomers and polyolefins.
Buchenroth said his firm might retain its existing facilities for assembly, which it does in-house and subcontracts some out to local programs that employ handicapped people.
He said World Class may begin offering pad printing and painting services.
World Class focuses on employee communication and training, Buchenroth said. One successful initiative is ``shift hand-off meetings'' to brief incoming shift workers on production and safety conditions. Buchenroth, Schroer or Wisneiwski sits in on each meeting.
The firm runs three shifts a day, seven days a week.