Laich Industries Corp. of Brook Park, Ohio, has wrapped up the consolidation of its injection molding operations by closing a plant in Ottawa, Kan.
Work from that site will be moved to the $13 million, 400,000-square-foot plant Laich opened in Brook Park, a Cleveland suburb, in early 2004. At that time, Laich closed five Cleveland-area plants and a plant in Phoenix, consolidating work from those sites into the new building.
Owner Walter Laich said by telephone the consolidation was done to boost efficiency and return the company to profitability. Privately owned Laich Industries does not disclose annual sales, but Walter Laich said the firm posted a small loss in 2004 even though sales grew 1-2 percent.
The firm makes plastic housewares such as resin furniture, dishpans and sink sets, as well as a line of sports novelty items. Its housewares are marketed under the Transco and American Value trade names, while its sports items are marketed as Sports Products. Most of the firm's products are made from polyethylene, polypropylene and other commodity resins.
The fate of the 16 presses at the Ottawa plant remains up in the air. Laich is negotiating with an adjacent landowner in Ottawa to sell the site and some of its equipment. If the deal does not work out, eight of the larger machines probably will be moved to Brook Park later this year.
If the sale is made, Laich said the firm will move four large machines to Brook Park and buy four new large machines - with clamping forces of 1,500-1,760 tons - for the Brook Park plant.
Laich said competition from Asia played a role in the loss of 80 percent of his firm's West Coast business since 1997, the year it moved its California operations to Arizona. Laich also said higher resin costs have hurt profitability.
``I've been in business 40 years and we've never had this many [resin] price increases,'' he said.
Moving ahead, Laich Industries will focus on larger products such as tubs and resin furniture for markets in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
``With larger products, we have an advantage on freight over foreign producers,'' Laich said.
Laich Industries now operates 21 machines and employs 130 in Brook Park. Moving work in from Ottawa will add 12-15 jobs, he said.