Performance Gear Systems Inc. plans to expand its customer base to include automotive next year.
The Woodridge-based firm is designing a plastic gear for an instrument panel application and expects to begin molding the part next year, said President Pat O'Donnell.
The firm expects it will have QS 9000 and ISO certifications in time to land the job, O'Donnell said in a telephone interview.
O'Donnell established his company in 1997, initially as an engineering consulting business. About four years ago it began injection molding gears and has since grown to a six-press operation with clamping forces from 30-120 tons. In January it moved to its present location where its 12,000 square feet of space is three times what it formerly occupied in Downers Grove, Ill.
O'Donnell said he is systems-focused, electing to be involved in early stages of design right through to molding. Key customers include window decoration major Hunter Douglas and office equipment firm Fellowes.
Performance Gear has invested more than $100,000 in the past year on automation and inspection systems. O'Donnell said investing in technology pays off directly and indirectly by bolstering customers' confidence when they tour the company's facilities. His next big purchase probably will be a 60-ton injection press early next year.
O'Donnell estimated his five employees churn out as many as 400,000 gears per week by running two shifts a day.