Longtime toolmaker Ramko Manufacturing Inc. has invested more than $5 million to establish its own injection molding plant on 2 acres in Hemet, Calif.
Ramko's new, 50,000-square-foot injection molding operation runs 15 presses with clamping forces of 150-750 tons. The company has decades of experience in making multiple types of tools, which it builds at a separate, 30,000-square-foot site in Hemet.
The injection molding site in Hemet was two years in the making, according to Larry Harden, owner and president of Blow Molded Products Inc., based in Riverside, Calif. Most of Ramko's injection presses previously operated at BMP's Riverside, Calif., plant, Harden said. About 41 miles separate the sites.
What once was BMP Injection is now Ramko Injection, a subsidiary of Ramko Manufacturing, Harden said.
BMP and Hemet-based Ramko Manufacturing began cooperating in 1996. The toolmaker needed a place to sample injection molds. So, Harden agreed to establish and operate an injection molding division for Ramko, using space within BMP's Riverside blow molding facility.
I was in charge of the operation and had a compensated interest, Harden said.
As part of the transition, Ramko Injection's president, John Rathbone, began assuming certain injection molding responsibilities at BMP early last year. But a new era began in January when Ramko launched its injection molding plant in Hemet.
We moved a few machines at a time and were running in both places, Harden said. We put some presses in storage prior to the building being done.
Ramko employs a total of 50-60 for custom injection molding and toolmaking, and espouses a made in the USA philosophy, Harden said. The company's primary business is building die-cast, injection, structural foam and blow molds for original equipment manufacturers and others. It has produced a 42,000-pound stack mold.
Rathbone declined to be interviewed for this story.
The organizations remain close, according to Harden. We offer injection molding to our customers, he said with Ramko Injection now handling that business as well as any injection mold making.
With space now available at BMP's Riverside plant, the firm is able to expand its core blow molding work. It recently acquired two used Bekum injection blow molding machines a H121 and a H111 and two used Rocheleau SPB-2 extrusion blow molders with intermittent reciprocating screws, Harden said. The company operates 17 blow molding machines in all, including seven intermittent accumulator-head monolayer machines and six continuous shuttle monolayer machines. Another machine is yet to be installed and Harden is shopping for a unit with a 20-pound shot size.
BMP's proprietary and application-customized, double-wall blow molded cases account for about 35 percent of its business. We have 18 sizes, Harden said. We added three sizes last year and will have two more this year.
BMP employs 35-50, occupies 35,000 square feet in two buildings and operates around the clock. In Riverside, BMP makes its own tools for blow molding applications, but it may subcontract that function, Harden said.
BMP's 2009 sales almost matched 2008's $4.2 million, he said. It was the first year we did not have year-over-year growth. We are cautiously optimistic, in part because quoting activity is up.
In late March, Joe Fitzgerald joined BMP as director of sales and marketing.
BMP molds products for furniture, highway construction, pet and auto applications. We ship a resonator to a Tier 1 supplier for the Ford Focus, Harden said.
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