Plastics processors HK Plastics Engineering Inc. and WaDal Plastics Inc. are expanding space, while Imperial Custom Molding Inc. and Pacific Plastics Injection Molding are adding equipment, company executives said at recent trade shows in Anaheim.
HK Plastics plans to construct a 55,000-square-foot facility in Oceanside, Calif., this year. The 30-year-old firm will move five miles, vacating the 24,000-square-foot space it owns. Sister company HK Screw Machine Products will remain in the location, and the vacant space will be leased.
``This new facility will allow us to leverage our interest in medical-device and biotech part molding and tool building,'' said Vice President Ron Krippner. Medical devices and biotech now account for about 40 percent of sales.
The company displayed its proprietary HK HepaCell process, which runs medical products in a low-particulate-count environment without a dedicated clean room, Krippner said. With the process, HK is working on syringe and plunger molds for a new project for biopharmaceutical company FibroGen Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif.
HK Plastics employs 65 and operates 21 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 28-400 tons. The firm has five HepaCell units.
Custom molder WaDal of Medford, Wis., plans to increase its leased space in El Paso, Texas, to 23,000 square feet from 11,400 square feet by April.
``At the show, we are looking at purchasing one or two presses in the 200-ton range,'' said Steven Axtman, engineering and business development manager. Also, the firm may acquire a 330-ton, wide-platen press by midyear.
WaDal expanded in 2002 to El Paso, where it employs 14 plus temporary workers and operates six presses of 110-330 tons.
The El Paso site serves one consumer-products customer but anticipates adding three customers and handling production for WaDal automotive work from Michigan-based original equipment manufacturers.
``We have four new projects for automotive that we will transfer'' once the Medford site completes engineering and tooling, Axtman said. Automotive parts are assembled at Mexican plants in Ciudad Ju rez and elsewhere.
WaDal had 2004 sales of $8.3 million, up 21 percent from the previous year, Axtman said.
``We believe automotive is going to go up dramatically for us this year'' and change the product mix of 74 percent consumer, 12 percent automotive and 8 percent medical, he said. WaDal employs 61 in Medford.
Rogers, Minn.-based Imperial Custom Molding, which is doing business as ICM Plastics Inc., looks for growth in blow molding, injection molding and thermoset processing.
``Blow molding is particularly strong for us now,'' said sales manager Michael Glynn. ICM acquired low-capacity blow molding equipment last year and this year plans to add larger equipment.
In addition to its thermoplastic press range of 35-500 tons, ``we are planning some expansion on high-end tonnages,'' he said. Recently, ICM invested about $1 million for two presses and a robotic cell for post-mold trimming and handling of parts.
ICM employs almost 200, occupies 135,000 square feet and had 2004 sales exceeding $22 million.
Pacific Plastics of San Diego added its first computer numerically controlled capability with a new Mitsubishi electric discharge machine in October. The firm had 2004 sales of about $2 million, said President Jae English.
Pacific Plastics moved to a 22,000-square-foot building in March, gaining room for secondary operations. The firm supplies the medical, electrical and consumer products markets.