Advanced Component Technologies Inc. of Northwood, Iowa, freed 10 percent of its space in a recent factory streamlining and now aims to broaden its core markets.
The firm thermoforms and fabricates interior and exterior acoustical components and trim for a variety of vehicles in agricultural, construction and heavy- and specialty-truck markets.
``We anticipate 10 percent growth in new business during 2002,'' W. Keith Jones, vice president of sales and engineering, said in a telephone interview.
ACT wants to increase sales of standard plastic products and retain its business in composite laminates, which account for more than 80 percent of volume.
The heavy-gauge thermoformer had 2001 sales of about $20 million, vs. $22 million last year.
``The reason for the drop is that production rates of current customers are down,'' which reflects the economy, Jones said.
However, new business programs should help increase this year's sales, he said. Target markets include all-terrain vehicles.
ACT, traditionally a Midwest supplier, is finding more business in the South and Southeast.
End users reducing the number of their suppliers are ``a huge benefit for our company,'' Jones said. ``We have sound-abatement material, simple die-cut components, complete vacuum formed components and complete assembled acoustical interior components, and we do straight assembly of plastic components as well.''
In late October, ACT completed rearranging operations and equipment in its 140,000 square feet. Lean manufacturing systems improve production flow and reduce inventories, said Wayne Schultz, vice president of operations. The changes ``allowed us to bring in additional business without increasing work force or equipment,'' Schultz said.
ACT is increasing its capabilities in water-jet cutting and computer numerically controlled routers for the hot-melt lamination and perforation of vinyl and plastic materials. For some acoustical applications, ACT places small holes that allow materials to absorb sounds.
The firm added a lean manufacturing and Six Sigma quality specialist in January and has targeted December for achieving QS 9000 certification, Schultz said.
ACT employs about 200, operates eight vacuum and pressure forming machines for multicavity and rotary applications and has additional capabilities in die cutting and plastic line bending.
Angus Industries Inc. of Watertown, S.D., acquired ACT in December 1999 and operates ACT and Angus-Palm of Watertown as separate, wholly owned subsidiaries. ACT was founded as Carroll George Inc. in 1965.