Custom injection molder Phillips Plastics Corp. - which already derives more than 38 percent of its $250 million in sales from medical business - is adding 30,000 square feet and 30 presses to its medical molding and assembly plant in Menomonie, Wis.
The $10 million expansion, due to be finished next July, will increase the area of the three-plant complex to 200,000 square feet. The Phillips, Wis.-based company also plans to boost the complex's 250-strong workforce to 300-350 people. The new presses will range from 7-20 tons.
The project includes a 10,000-square-foot clean room, with the rest of the space slated for tooling and warehousing.
``It will allow us to produce medical devices in higher volumes'' and accommodate new customers, marketing director Lesley Lagerstrom said Aug. 23 by telephone. The expansion provides a foundation for the firm's next generation of medical product manufacturing, she said.
The project comes on the heels of a mold-making joint venture in Dongguan, China, with contract manufacturer Eastek International of Buffalo Grove, Ill. The venture, announced three months ago, gives Phillips its first Far East presence.
Exports to China, Europe, and Mexico contribute more than $59 million to Phillips' annual sales.
Phillips now owns 25 percent of the China venture, WahTsun Far East Ltd., which the molder says gives it access to high-quality, low-cost tooling and low-cost assembly to serve U.S. customers. Eastek's campus in Dongguan covers 465,000 square feet of production and assembly space and houses all of Eastek's manufacturing.
In addition to its Menomonie medical complex, Phillips has a low-volume medical plant in New Richmond, Wis., and alliances for medical warehousing in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Phillips' sales have increased by 67 percent in the past 10 years. The firm said it has had annual average return on equity of more than 20 percent since it was founded, in 1964, to produce knobs for cars, dishwashers, fans, dehumidifiers and dryers.
Lagerstrom said Phillips replaces its equipment every seven to eight years, to ensure it possesses the latest technology, and spends 3 percent of sales on research and development. It also operates its own employee training center.