A 3-year-old toolmaker just completed a major expansion, running counter to the trend of many of its veteran rivals.
Custom Design & Mold LLC of Englewood, Ohio, has added 10,000 square feet of space to its facilities, completing the process in early September, said President Richard Shock at Plastics Encounter Indianapolis, held Sept. 17-19.
The custom mold maker started in 1999 in its 18,000-square-foot space with five toolmakers, many of them former employees of PET preform producer Electra Form Inc. of Vandalia, Ohio. Shock's son, Richard Shock Jr., was one of the former Electroform workers who now owns a majority of Custom Design.
Now, Custom Design has 32 employees and a larger plant to accommodate new machining centers and electric discharge machine wire equipment, he said.
While the tooling industry has struggled through a prolonged slowdown, Custom Design continues to grow, Shock said.
The company makes diverse specialized molds, including PET blow molds for containers, thermoset molds and extrusion molds. The firm also is one of the few Midwest toolmakers to make stack molds.
A sister firm, Custom Molded Products LLC of Wilmington, Ohio, makes injection molds and shares projects with Custom Design.
``If you asked us three years ago where we'd be today, we would not have forecast this kind of growth,'' Shock said. ``We would have said our [current] sales level would have happened in about the 10th year of our 10-year plan.''
But a growing market for PET containers and other blow molded products has helped the company avoid the downturn, he said. The mold maker expects sales of $3 million to $4 million this year, Shock said.
The expansion has opened more office space - the company formerly had three employees working out of one desk - and added room for assembly on the manufacturing floor, Shock said.