Custom injection molder Mack Molding Co. has fortified its market position with a $3 million investment in an automotive-quality paint system at its large-part molding facility in Inman, S.C.
The paint line occupies about 12,000 square feet of the 250,000-square-foot plant, where the smallest parts produced are made on 1,000-ton presses, and the largest on 4,000-ton presses.
The paint line addition is a continuation of Arlington, Vt.-based Mack's strategy, launched in 2000, to become a market leader in large-part molding. Mack officials said they know of no other custom injection molder serving non-automotive customers with molding and Class A paint-finishing capabilities in-house.
The new paint room is HEPA-filtered, features 175 part racks, Fanuc articulated robots, and has 1,200 feet of conveyor that moves at about 6 feet per minute. An entire cycle takes about 31/2 hours, and represents a new level of painting and customer-service capability for those customers requiring painted parts.
The company started building the paint line in early summer, officials said.
The new line can accommodate paint color changes in just a few minutes and allows Mack to run as many colors as it wants, said Rusty Campbell, the plant's finishing manager, in a Nov. 16 telephone interview.
Mack is molding large parts for the recreational-vehicle and lawn and garden markets. With some of its large-part customers, the company had been shipping molded parts to a third-party painter for finishing.
With large parts, what you try not to do is ship them or handle them very often. It's expensive to ship them, Ray Burns, president of Mack's southern division, said in a telephone interview. We've been able to save the customer a significant amount of money in logistics. Doing everything in-house should give us a very competitive advantage on pricing.
Mack is looking to grow its business in the trucking industry by offering finished automotive-quality exterior cab parts faster and less-expensive than its competitors. It is an aggressive philosophy that Mack officials practice companywide.
The company said it has employed similar investment and growth strategies with its medical-molding business in its northern division.
The new paint line is at about 50 percent capacity after less than a month in use, Burns said.
We're looking at large parts, still, he said. By and large, we know who those customers are and already are doing work with many of them. We see this as an expansion of services to the markets we're already in.
Mack's Inman plant employs about 175. The company invested about $5 million to expand the plant's injection molding capacity by about 50 percent in 2008.
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