Charloma Inc. is expanding its thermoforming capacity by buying equipment and building an addition in Cherryvale, Kan. The firm is investing about $2.5 million in the program, according to sales and marketing director David Spears. It involves purchasing a new Brown rotary thermoformer capable of forming twin sheet as large as 5 feet by 7 feet, and expanding an existing machine's capacity to 10 feet by 12 feet from the previous 8 feet by 12 feet.
Spears said new equipment has been delivered and will be hooked up when construction of the addition is complete, probably in early spring. Charloma is boosting floor space to 200,000 square feet. The new Brown line will be its eighth thermoformer.
Charloma is an industrial thermoformer, with about 90 percent of its business directed to original equipment manufacturers, Spears said in a telephone interview. Marine, lawn and garden and recreational vehicles are among its largest markets.
The firm's thermoforming sales were $9.5 million for 1998. It also does rotational molding and some fiberglass-reinforced thermoset work, which in total boosted its 1998 sales to $13 million.
Charloma recently entered injection molding when it bought Walnut Ridge Group of Pittsburg, Kan.
The business included tooling for school furniture and other school supplies, which Walnut Ridge had molded by outside sources. Charloma has bought refurbished presses with 200 and 400 tons of clamping force to bring that molding in-house. Spears also will offer injection molding services to its current thermoforming and rotomolding customers.
The private company, originally established as an FRP shop in 1969, works with a variety of sheet materials and employs 30.