Automotive supplier Midwest Molding Inc. has completed a $7 million move into a new home that includes three new injection molding presses and the company's first automated central delivery system.
The 116,000-square-foot plant in Bartlett, Ill., replaces Midwest's 43,000-square-foot site five miles away in West Chicago, Ill.
``We just simply grew out of that facility,'' purchasing director Sanjay Patel said in a Nov. 8 telephone interview.
Midwest Molding opened in 1996 in West Chicago, and doubled its floor space in a 2000 expansion.
Its move comes at a time when many auto suppliers have been forced to close or lay off employees. Patel said Midwest Molding's small size has given it flexibility to respond to market shifts as the auto industry has slowed down, adapting and cutting costs to keep pace with changes.
The company, with 125 employees, also landed new contracts for parts such as exterior mirrors, including one contract that has it using 90,000 pounds of glass-filled polypropylene per week.
The plant, built for Midwest from the ground up, allowed the company to bring in its first silos and fully automated delivery system, with direct resin feeding to 10 injection presses on the shop floor. One 80,000-pound silo is dedicated to the glass-filled PP, and another is dedicated to a future contract.
Midwest also installed pipes, electrical conduits and other infrastructure under the floor to improve the manufacturing flow. It added three new electric presses - one 750-ton machine and two 500-ton presses - and now has 35 presses with clamping forces of 35-750 tons. The firm also has space at the new plant for as many as 20 more presses, according to Patel.