A contract to make a new folding rake has spurred Quantum Plastics Inc. to spend about $1 million on expansion.
The Aberdeen, S.D., custom molder recently added two 500-ton JSW injection presses to help it handle the new business from Sears, Roebuck and Co. Last month it bought a 15,000-square-foot building for its assembly operations and is adding on 10,000 square feet for a warehouse. It also is expanding its 15,000-square-foot manufacturing plant by a third, Quantum President Dennis Chasteen said by telephone.
The firm soon will begin molding parts for the One-Step Rake, a rake that folds up to catch leaves and save consumers some of the usual, tiresome back-bending of raking leaves. Sears picked Quantum to be the sole molder of the product, which it will begin to sell for $24.99 in August.
The patented rake includes a polypropylene rake head, and two other parts made of glass-filled acetal and glass-filled nylon, Chasteen said.
Quantum hired 10 more workers for the program, boosting its staff to about 52. Chasteen said he expects the program to boost sales sixfold, but he did not disclose sales for the 2-year-old company. Quantum also will assemble the rake.
Choice Products of Paducah, Ky., has held the license for the rake from an inventor. Sears predicts sales in the first year of $5.6 million, including orders from television infomercials.
Quantum's main business has been molding parts for original equipment manufacturers of four-wheel-drive vehicles and snowmobiles. Before the delivery of the new JSW machines, it had six presses, with clamping forces of 90-1,100 tons.
Quantum was founded by Neil Bellikka, owner of Prairie Tool & Mold Inc., also of Aberdeen. Chasteen bought a half-interest in the company in January after 34 years' experience with various custom molders.