The Wilco family of companies in Maryland Heights, Mo., keeps growing even amid an unpredictable U.S. economic recovery.
The firm which consists of Wilco Molding Inc., Wilco Die-Tool-Machine Co. and Wilco Automation LLC recently opened a 12,000-square-foot automation facility for value-added turnkey operations, and is negotiating to buy an adjacent property and expand its 25,000-square-foot molding and tooling shop by another 5,000 square feet.
Wilco, which does not disclose sales, is a family business. Owner Stanley Williams Jr., his son, Kim (who runs the molding operation) and grandson, Mark (who manages quality assurance, document control and information technology), all continue in the steps of co-founder Stanley Williams Sr.
Stanley Jr. and his father started Wilco Die-Tool-Machine Co. in 1951 in Stanley Sr.'s garage. Later, they bought a small building where they made metal dies, as well as injection and compression molds for electronic and medical products. In 1968, the company built and moved to a new, 6,000-square-foot building. After a devastating fire in 1970, the Williams family rebuilt and expanded the plant to 12,000 square feet and started Wilco Molding Inc. The company, which employs 25, has been in its current location since 2004.
Wilco Molding has 17 Toyo machines from 55-550 tons and processes engineered resins used to make electronics, medical, packaging, commercial and residential products. Five of the machines are in a Class 100,000 clean room dedicated mainly to molding for medical clients.
We install equipment to do whatever the customer demands, Gary Guetterman, director of operations and business development, said in a Feb. 2 telephone interview. Or, we will spec out tooling for whatever a customer demands.
The move to open an automation division in 2008 came in the face of the changing economic climate and it's a move that has paid off, he said. The economy went down. Sales went down across the board for everybody [in plastics] and you have to find new ways to make your money, Guetterman said.
The automation operation includes prototyping, design, tool building and testing services for customers that need one-off machines, for example to test a pump or to do parts assembly, he said. The shop can custom-make a jig, fixture or gauge to a customer's specifications as well.
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