Proprietary molder and extruder Richco Inc. is looking for new business in China.
The Morton Grove, Ill., company is setting up a manufacturing facility to supply a diverse customer base of industrial and consumer product assembly operations that have moved to the huge nation. By midyear Richco will begin injection molding in a leased facility in Xiamen. Meantime, it is building a grassroots operation due to start up in early 2005 and replace the temporary operation.
President Rick Streicher said his firm will relocate machinery from other offshore facilities to the temporary plant. For the permanent facility Richco will spend a few million dollars on new injection molding and extrusion equipment.
Richco supplies more than 10,000 types of fasterners, wire management devices and other plastic components and molds and extrudes more than 70 percent of them in house. It now has four manufacturing plants. Its Harvard, Ill., plant is its largest. Others are located in Chicago; Gravesend, England; and Barcelona, Spain. Altogether it now runs 70 injection presses and 14 extrusion lines.
Streicher said his firm believes in local manufacturing to quickly meet customer needs and to minimize inventory requirements.
``We use quick-change tooling and work cells for rapid turnaround,'' he said in a telephone interview.
China will represent incremental business and should not take sales away from North American operations, Streicher predicted. The company, privately held by the founding Richardson family, does about $70 million in annual sales.
Richco is celebrating its 50th year in business. Originally founded by Craig and Charles Richardson on the northwest side of Chicago, its first product was a clamp for pinball machines. Clamps led to other extruded and molded products and eventually grew to include overseas business.
In 1975, Richco started manufacturing in Gravesend and in 1979 expanded to Barcelona. It established its Harvard injection molding plant in 1980. Last fall it moved headquarters operations to Morton Grove from Chicago after it maxed out space there. Globally it has 17 support and manufacturing facilities and more than 450 employees.