One of the early U.S. makers of plastic toy cars and trucks is liquidating, blaming shrinking profit and offshore competition.
Processed Plastic Co. of Montgomery, Ill., will host an auction Aug. 16-18 to sell blow and injection molding equipment from its 400,000-square-foot plant, said David C. Bergman, vice president of engineering and a member of the family that has owned the company since its inception in 1948.
The company also sold about 450 molds the week of July 11 from its separate toolmaking operation in Addison, Ill., Bergman said. After the two buildings are sold, the firm will close for good, unable to compete with inexpensive Asian imports, Bergman said.
``A lot of the problems come from declining sales volume, and we had to fight the obvious run-up in material prices at the same time,'' he said. ``The volumes kept declining at a rate that just wasn't acceptable to keep us in business. It just became difficult.''
As recently as a year ago, the company had 300 employees and annual sales of almost $50 million, Bergman said. Bergman's grandfather, Ross, started the company in Aurora, Ill., and became known as one of the first makers of toy trucks from polyethylene. The business continued to expand, moving to Montgomery in the early 1960s and then opening the Addison facility.
The company built its reputation making riding toys, storage boxes, bats and balls, and its trademark line of toy cars and trucks. In 1965, Processed Plastic purchased Tim Mee Toys and became one of the largest U.S. makers of Army figurines.
Last year, in an effort to hike volumes, the firm bought Chicago-based Strombecker Corp., a well-known maker of the Tootsietoy line that had been in business for 125 years, Bergman said. The deal included Strombecker's injection molding plant in Durant, Okla., operating under the Durant Plastics name. Processed Plastic closed the Durant operation in January, and the Illinois plants in early May, Bergman said.
The auction includes seven extrusion blow molding machines, a majority of them with dual heads, and 24 injection presses with clamping forces of 80-850 tons, said James Gardner, senior vice president of auction services with Branford Group of Branford, Conn. Branford is working with Hilco Industrial LLC of Northbrook, Ill.