VISTA, CALIF. — President Timothy Curnutt is re-engineering Distinctive Plastics Inc. for multiple-shot and insert molding processes. The firm is expanding into automotive, telecommunication and computer peripheral markets. Distinctive moved in July to a leased, custom-built, 46,000-square-foot facility in Vista.
"Our goal is to become the premier multishot molder on the West Coast," he said during a plant tour.
Steps toward ISO 9002 and QS 9000 certification in the past three years have helped triple monthly production to $600,000. The company expects certification by year's end.
Improving procedures is "paying off by leaps and bounds," according to Curnutt.
About 70 original equipment manufacturers, plastics processors and industry suppliers attended an all-day event at the plant April 11. Jurgen Giesow, an application engineer with Arburg Inc. in Newington, Conn., gave technical seminars on process optimization and two-color molding. Demonstrations ran on two new Arburgs, a 110-ton multishot that cost $185,000 and a 28-ton unit with a vertical-enabled clamp.
Initially a tool-and-die maker, Curnutt started the business in a Vista garage in 1981. He began designing injection molds and soon was operating an 88-ton Arburg in his bedroom.
"We used swimming pool water to cool the mold, and it would warm the pool," he said.
The business moved to nearby San Marcos, occupying 3,000 square feet in 1985.
Curnutt designed his ideal plant for four years, mostly using AutoCAD software.
A 5,600-square-foot room has 19 presses of 28-500 tons and an overhead crane. Curnutt has added three Toyo presses with 200-, 300- and 400-tons of clamping force since July. An adjacent room of 4,000 square feet holds the two new Arburgs and is primed for eight more presses. No timetable exists for filling the slots.
Distinctive uses some commodity resins, but Curnutt's design interests lead him toward engineering grades.
Secondary operations include routing, pad printing, sonic welding and hot stamping.
Distinctive makes about 50 percent of its molds in-house and stores tools in an air-conditioned room.
Curnutt plans to buy a horizontal machining center next year to complement a three-axis machining center.
Nearby, the shop has a computer numerically controlled electric discharge machine, a manual EDM and space for a wire EDM.
The quality operation recently acquired a Starrett coordinate measuring machine.
Distinctive had 1999 sales of $5.7 million and has had average annual growth of 19.5 percent since 1991. Curnutt forecasts 20 percent growth this year.
The firm employs 70, including five mold makers. Kip Carter joined Distinctive as sales manager in March.