World Class Plastics Inc. will start an expansion next summer that nearly will double its space and allow it to move toolmaking to its main facility.
The company, based in Russells Point, Ohio, also has launched a program to replace its hydraulic injection presses with a complete line of all-electric machines, said Scott Wisniewski, vice president of engineering and a co-owner.
``We decided almost two years ago to move to electric presses,'' said Wisniewski, interviewed Sept. 18 at Plastics Encounter Indianapolis. ``There are certain jobs that we'd like to do only in electric because they give us the tight tolerances we need. We decided to move entirely in that direction.''
The company already has replaced two of its 26 injection presses with Sumitomo all-electric machines. During the next eight years, as the rest of its existing presses are retired, the company gradually will change out its entire equipment line to electric machines.
The expansion will give the firm space to add presses and bring toolmaking closer to its molding operation, he said. It plans to add about 28,000 square feet at Russells Point. There currently is about 32,000 square feet of space at the site, where it custom molds a variety of products and has presses of 18-350 tons.
World Class makes injection molds at a 5,000-square-foot facility in Lakeview, Ohio, about five miles from the Russells Point site.
The company also plans to offer more assembly and secondary operations at the expanded facility. That work is to be completed by the first quarter of 2004.
World Class will invest about $1.2 million in the building, Wisniewski said. The expansion could begin sooner than next summer if new work warrants it.
The firm makes molds and tools for close-tolerance parts, including gears, bearings, fasteners, industrial valves and automotive and medical parts, said Ron Buchenroth, vice president of marketing and communications.
World Class expects sales of close to $10 million this year, Wisniewski said.
The conversion to all-electric machines will help the company mold more precise parts at higher cycle times, Buchenroth said.
``It will eliminate variations and keep a lot of costs down,'' he said.
The electric presses also will save about $4,000-$5,000 in monthly utility costs, he said. The firm plans to buy all Sumitomo machines, Buchenroth said.
The firm employs 74. It does not plan to add employees during the expansion, Wisniewski said. World Class uses automated manufacturing cells that allow one operator to supervise as many as six presses.