Lakeshore Plastics, an injection molder based in Conneaut, Ohio, is undergoing a major transformation by moving to a larger, new building and doubling its number of presses.
By year-end, the firm will add four new presses with clamping forces of 85-500 tons, said General Manager David Distelrath.
The firm now operates two 150-ton and two 200-ton presses and employs six. The new machines, as well as increased assembly space for some of its own products, will lead Lakeshore to add 25 employees in the next year, Distelrath said. The firm also hopes to add two presses of more than 500 tons in 1999.
The new equipment will be housed in a 25,000-square-foot building that Lakeshore will move into this year. The company also plans to add 15,000 square feet of warehouse space to the new location, which is about a mile away from its original, 5,000-square-foot site.
The 4-year-old company, which posted sales of $100,000 last year, is looking to restructure its customer base by moving into the medical, pharmaceutical and housewares markets, according to Distelrath.
Last year, about three-quarters of Lakeshore's business came from subcontracting work with local molders that primarily did business with consumer products giant Rubbermaid Inc. of Wooster, Ohio, and Rubbermaid's toy-making unit, Little Tikes Co.
``It's tough making a living by subcontracting,'' Distelrath said in a recent telephone interview. ``We want to move away from that and focus on larger clients.''
Lakeshore already has met with representatives of Whirlpool Corp. with this goal in mind.
The remainder of Lakeshore's 1997 business went into custom molding — including a chain used by NASA to make linings for rocket boosters on space shuttles — and in-house products such as the Bogey Plus, a bunker rake for golf courses and home and garden markets.