The swine flu outbreak has been a big challenge for health-care officials, but it has also been a big opportunity for Delaney Manufacturing LLC, a custom injection molder in Bradenton, Fla.
The business is working around the clock to meet an order for between 25,000 and 35,000 holding trays needed to process doses of the vaccine used to treat swine flu, also known as H1N1.
Everybody's working 12 hours a day, and I'm working 18, Delaney owner John Smelser said by phone Oct. 15. We were fortunate enough to win the business and now we're scrambling to get out the order.
Smelser declined to identify the multinational pharmaceuticals company that needs the trays, which are used to store vials of the vaccine as they go from a loading machine and into a cooler, before being placed in separate packaging for delivery to hospitals and doctors' offices.
The 12-inch-by-24-inch trays are 3.5 inches deep and are made from high-impact polystyrene. Smelser said he believes Delaney won the account partly because it has a 500-ton molding machine that is large enough to handle the work, which is expected to last through the end of the year.
Delaney first was contacted by the pharmaceuticals firm in early July and began molding the trays in early October. To handle the project, the firm has added four employees and two shifts to its typical five-employee, one-shift operation.
The H1N1 tray job is the latest event in a whirlwind couple of years for Smelser, who was a commercial real-estate investor before buying the defunct Anko injection molding business in 2008. The firm was one of his tenants, but had been closed for three months when he made the deal on the advice of a friend with injection molding experience.
My friend told me that [injection molding] was a bad market right now, but that it was a good time to go into the business because a lot of the weaker companies were being taken out, Smelser recalled.
Delaney named after Smelser's daughter now operates nine molding machines in a 7,500-square-foot space and molds products for a variety of end markets. The recent H1N1 work has made things a bit tight on the shop floor.
My employees are telling me there's almost no place to walk because we've got product everywhere, Smelser said.
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