Injection molder and mold maker Seaway Plastics Engineering Inc. of Port Richey, Fla., is expanding its plant there with an investment of more than $2 million.
Workers poured the slab last week for a 20,000-square-foot addition, said co-owner and CEO Tim Smock. The company plans to move in by December.
Seaway specializes in low-volume production for medical devices and instruments, military, aerospace, food service, packaging and specialty electronics.
“We are strictly focused on low-volume production but very high-end markets,” Smock said June 29 by phone. Smock and President Paul Bernard bought the business in 2003.
In-house mold making is essential to the business, since its customers require production-quality parts quickly, often within two to five weeks. “Having significant mold-making capability is extremely important,” Smock said.
This year alone, the firm will build 220 molds in-house — 80 percent of those to be completed and sampled in two to four weeks.
“It was a fairly obvious strategy to put in place and it's worked out well for us,” he said.
Seaway has had no layoffs. Sales fell slightly during the Great Recession but the firm has been growing since last year, he said. “It's manageable and sustainable growth,” Smock said. “It's critical we have open capacity for the markets we're in. Sixty percent of our orders are drop-in orders.”
The firm has added eight computer numerically controlled machines for mold making.
Seaway has 17 injection presses, from 44-500 tons of clamping force. Officials are awaiting the delivery of a 120-ton Nissei press.
The bricks-and-mortar expansion will bring Seaway's mold making and injection molding under one roof. The company has been operating from buildings on opposite sides of the same street.
“This will help us with our efficiencies,” Smock said. When complete, Seaway will have roughly 70,000 square feet.
Smock and Bernard Florida Finishing LLC, which does low-volume painting for aerospace and military applications. That business will move into the building vacated by mold making.
Seaway employs about 95. It plans to add 10-30 more workers.