For 3D Plastics Inc., a seven-mile move from Longview to Gladewater, Texas, will more than triple its available space and at the same time bring owner David Frye back to a building with which he is quite familiar.
The company's new 48,500-square-foot facility formerly housed Supreme Plastics Inc., a company Frye had built and sold to United Plastics Group Inc. back in June 2000. United leased the building from Frye until it moved out in January 2002.
``I had it for sale, but there were no takers - I knew that if it didn't sell, that eventually 3D would grow big enough to move in,'' Frye said.
The business that he sold in 2000 was primarily injection molding, while his new business, 3D Plastics, does a lot more custom blow molding.
Frye said 3D was started in 2001 in Longview and has been growing quickly since then. He said sales were about $4 million in 2005. He projects them to reach $6 million this year.
Growth is coming from automotive, food and beverage customers. The company makes such things as seat-belt components as well as toppers for a cup promoting an upcoming Superman movie.
``Our blow molding evolves around extensive secondary operations,'' Frye said, adding that it includes specialized trimming machines.
The company employs 55, and Frye said he expects that to grow to 70 by the end of the year. The move is under way and should be completed quickly, he said in a Feb. 23 telephone interview.
``I feel good every time I walk into the building. I know we will do a better job in this building and we have the opportunity to grow,'' he said.
The company has spent $400,000 on new machinery and now has six blow molding machines and six injection molding machines, according to Frye.
The blow molding equipment includes five reciprocating-screw machines with half-pound shots and a new double-shuttle continuous extrusion machine.
The injection molding machines range from 40-400 tons of clamping force. The newest press is 400 tons, and Frye said plans are under way for a new 200-tonner.
He said the new setup will be more efficient, with machines configured into cells. The plant also has a materials-handling system to decrease resin contamination.
Frye said there was no room for new machinery in the Longview facility. He added that a lot of his employees have been with him since his Supreme Plastics days and are looking forward to the return to Gladewater.