WaDal Plastics Inc., a small Wisconsin custom molder, is opening an injection molding plant in El Paso, Texas, to serve a customer's factory across the border in Mexico.
Medford, Wis.-based WaDal, with $5 million in custom molding sales last year, said the Texas factory should begin operating by mid-September. The company is leasing a 10,000-square-foot plant, with an option to expand.
The factory will start with three injection molding presses - two new, all-electric JSW machines with clamping forces of 95 and 200 tons, and an older, 330-ton Milacron press already dedicated to a specific product line.
``That's the initial setup, and then we expect to double that ... within the next six months,'' said President Robert Lange.
At first the plant will employ seven, but that number will grow.
WaDal wants to pick up other customers in the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border area, Lange said. The company's biggest markets include electrical products, appliances, computers and business equipment, construction, industrial and lawn and garden.
The company also builds and designs its own molds in Wisconsin, and runs engineering resins, Lange said in an Aug. 9 telephone interview.
``We can transfer a production-ready mold to our El Paso facility and service [customers'] southern operations,'' Lange said.
For now, the Texas plant's only customer is Ark-Les Corp., a Stoughton, Mass., maker of switches, terminals and other electronic components for the appliance, automotive and commercial markets. Ark-Les already is a major customer for the custom molder.
WaDal will ship parts from El Paso to an Ark-Les warehouse just one mile away. Ark-Les is responsible for moving the parts over the border.
Three men - Dale Baumann, Wade Cullen and Lange - own WaDal. The company was founded in 1988 as a mold maker, Baumann Tool and Machine Shop. The firm got its first production molding job about a year later and moved to its current location in 1992.
WaDal employs 50 and runs 17 presses, all of them under 350 tons. Total company sales are $6 million, including $1 million from molds built for WaDal and other molding companies.
For new machines, Lange said, WaDal now likes to buy all-electric presses. ``That's our intent, not only for the cost efficiency, but also the low noise level makes it a much more comfortable place to work,'' he said. The machines also are reliable, he added.