Pressure former Arrem Plastics Inc. is combining its two plants in Addison, Ill., into a larger facility in the same town.
"The space under one higher roof will allow us to do larger parts and secondary work customers are asking for," President Dale Muhlethaler said in a telephone interview.
The 95,000-square-foot facility has 25 percent more space than the other two plants combined, and efficiency gains are expected to make the increase seem even larger, Muhlethaler said.
Arrem relocated one plant's four forming presses and five trimming machines during downtime in 2000's fourth quarter. By this summer, it expects to move seven formers and six trimmers from the second plant.
Muhlethaler anticipates better use of Arrem's three-dimensional, computer-aided-design system in turning around design changes and reducing time-to-market schedules.
Planning began a year ago in an upbeat economy. Pursuing the plant combination now represents a risk, Muhlethaler said.
"This move is a little worrisome to me considering the times we are in," he said.
His now-retired father, Richard Muhlethaler, founded the business in 1945.
Arrem employs 68 and mainly pressure forms customized, heavy-gauge thermoplastic components for computers, medical test equipment, telecommunications and lighting.
The Society of Plastics Engineers' annual thermoformed part of the year competition has recognized Arrem on eight occasions, and the firm has won two new-product design awards from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Structural Plastics Division.
Arrem disclosed facility details March 5 at the National Design Engineering Show in Chicago.