Nearly every Monday night in the fall, injection molder Bradrock Industries Inc. will get a little screen time.
The Des Plaines, Ill.-based company makes the shells for Riddell Sports Inc.'s football helmets, which are seen on high school, college and NFL players' heads. Bradrock expects to turn out an estimated 250,000 of the shells this year.
The company also produces plastic face masks for the Chicago-based sports equipment maker's youth helmets, as well as the company's lacrosse helmets.
The entire project is part of a turnaround Bradrock had to launch two years ago when a former executive left, taking a large share of business with him.
``We've had to do a lot of restructuring,'' President Mike Richardson, who is part of the third generation of the family-owned company, said during an April 19 interview at the American Contract Manufacturers Show in Rosemont.
``We've been working a lot of hours to make this happen.''
Bradrock is now at $3 million in sales and has 40 employees, down from $10 million in sales and 100 employees at its height, but still a third higher than a year ago.
Richardson and general manager Matt Kallas, who both learned the business at the firm starting as mold makers, encountered Riddell officials during another show a year ago, and convinced them to give Bradrock a chance.
In addition to the helmet work, Bradrock has its own proprietary line of fishing lures, marketed under the name Bradrock Baits, and molds a variety of components for other industries.
The firm has 10 mold makers in its in-house tool shop, and recently collaborated with office equipment maker Iceberg LLC for tooling on an easel system that won an award from the Society of the Plastics Industry's Structural Plastics Division.
Bradrock has 33 injection molding presses, with clamping forces of 25-610 tons.