Dickten & Masch Mfg. Co. is ramping up production at its new Mississippi molding plant, the first outside its headquarters city of Nashotah, Wis.
The company also recently started a new division in Nashotah to supply fast-turnaround molds to original equipment manufacturers.
A tight labor market in Wisconsin drove some Dickten & Masch customers to the southeastern United States. The injection molder followed them, rather than try to maintain a lengthened supply line for just-in-time deliveries.
``Unemployment in Waukesha County [Wis.] is approaching 1 percent,'' President John Onzik said by telephone.
Dickten & Masch acquired 16 acres in Hattiesburg, Miss., and in early November, completed construction of an initial facility, including a 40,000-square-foot plant. Onzik expects to have the plant fully operational by March.
Dickten & Masch is installing eight Cincinnati Milacron presses for thermoplastics molding and seven Lawton machines for thermoset molding. Clamping forces range from 85-725 tons.
Charles Phillips joined the firm as plant manager and will oversee about 80 workers in the Mississippi location. In June, the firm formed Rapid Solutions mold-making division, Onzik said.
``We are making cavities and cores in steel in a matter of days. That, combined with material analysis, is helping our customers get to market much faster,'' he said.
Managed by Scott Schermer, the new division employs three, occupies 3,000 square feet and uses a DTM Sinterstation 2500 system. The unit can receive three-dimensional OEM databases and rapidly build molds of steel or copper-nylon alloys.
The steel molds yield ``up to 15,000 shots with no apparent wear,'' and the copper-nylon molds have been used so far for runs ``up to 500 pieces in engineering resins,'' Onzik said.
Onzik forecasts 1998 corporate sales will rise to about $48.5 million, from $42.5 million in 1997. Thermoplastic and thermoset electrical components for heavy-duty distribution systems and equipment make up about 20 percent of the diversified firm's sales.
The 150,000-square-foot Nashotah site employs about 400 and runs 45 presses for thermoplastics and 23 for thermoset work.
Onzik anticipates companywide 1998 sales of about $33 million in thermoplastic injection molding; $10 million in thermoset compression, transfer and injection molding; and $4.5 million in mold design and traditional mold making, including mold-flow and mold-fill analysis. Sales involving raw-materials analysis and the Rapid Solutions division will approach $1 million.
In addition to electrical components, Dickten & Masch makes parts for the power tool, major appliance, automotive, small-engine, plumbing and telecommunications industries.