CHICAGO — Armed with a new plant, ISO 9002 and QS 9000 certification, Allegheny Performance Plastics is set to take on another market.
The Allegheny Plastics Inc. injection molding division has spent about $500,000 on a custom-built, 40,000-square-foot new plant in Leetsdale, Pa., and a 500-ton press, said sales engineer Phil Juzwick.
Behind the March move, which nearly triples space for the molder, is five years of steady sales growth and the desire to extend its expertise in high-temperature thermoplastics into the automotive market.
To start, that means molding parts for an anti-lock brake system for General Motors Corp.'s Delphi Automotive Systems, Juzwick said March 16 at the National Design Engineering Show in Chicago.
Allegheny also relocated six injection presses from its former, 14,000-square-foot plant, just two miles from the new site in Leetsdale, near Pittsburgh. Those machines range from 25-250 tons, and handle all types of melt-processable fluoropolymers, plus materials like polyetheretherketone and polyamide imide, Juzwick said. The division plans to buy two more midrange presses by summer's end, he said.
``We've been constrained by our size. We were packed in so tightly before,'' Juzwick said.
The new 500-tonner and more space have allowed Allegheny to bring back in-house a job it had been outsourcing for a 11/2-pound Ultem polyetherimide impeller for an aerospace customer, according to Juzwick.
He said aerospace customers, including Seattle-based Boeing Co., make up roughly 17 percent of Allegheny's business. Another 15 percent is compressors and pumps; 15 percent power hand tools; and 10 percent stock shapes.
Off-road recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles, and the new auto business equal another 17 percent. The rest is spread thin among diverse markets.
In 1997, the unit had about $5.5 million in sales, Juzwick said.
Allegheny expects its QS 9000 status, acquired in late February, along with its niche in high-temperature plastics, to win it more auto business in functional, load-bearing mechanical components, Juzwick said.
The molder has doubled its work force to about 60 people in the past 11/2 years as it has geared up for this growth, he said. Also on board are several new managers: Steve Webster, division manager; Les Gamble, tooling; and Gary Felicetti, who was hired to oversee quality programs like QS and ISO.
Allegheny Plastics' two other divisions are process equipment, which fabricates tanks using polypropylene sheet for metal-surface treatment systems; and printed plastics, which does printing and laminating of plastic credit cards, smart cards and the like.