ARNOLD, MO. (Dec. 2, 5:05 p.m. ET) — GripWorks recently added the entire line of Hunt-Wilde brand injection molded hand grips to its portfolio and will be manufacturing them at its St. Louis production facilities.
It will be the first time in many years that the company will be injection molding in the U.S., according to Jeff Barket, director of sales and marketing, said in Nov. 30 telephone interview.
“We are market dominate in dip molded hand grips, but many OEMs purchase not only dip molded grips, but are looking for other grips as well. This fulfills that need and is complementary to our lines,” he said.
The company acquired the tooling assets for the Hunt-Wilde line in September and it added about 100 molds to its portfolio. The company uses injection molding in China, but earlier in the year began developing a few stock grips in St. Louis. That plan evolved as the Hunt-Wilde line became available.
With the new line, the company is now running two Cincinnati Milacron 440 ton machines 24 hours a day, five days a week, Barket said. He company has added six employees, and it will be shipping the product internationally.
Barket said Gripworks has had double digit sales increases in the past few years and had $9 million in sales in the recently completed 2011 fiscal year. The grips are used on items including wheel chairs, exercise equipment, compressors, lawn mowers, hand trucks and bicycles.
The company cleared space for the new machinery in one of its two St. Louis production facilities, according to Marylou Pudlowski, Gripworks marketing coordinator
Pudlowski said GripWorks' parent Sinclair & Rush Inc. started in 1950 by dip molding products. It has expanded over the years, adding extrusion, foam extrusion and thermoforming.
Sinclair & Rush, based in Arnold, has five other companies besides GripWorks. They include Stockcap, a maker of protective caps and plugs; Visipak, a supplier of clear packaging tubes, clamshells, blister packs, trays and boxes; VynaFlex, a supplier of vinyl plastisol compounds; Soffware, a supplier of can coolers; and Castle Bay, a manufacturer of vinyl and neoprene golf iron covers.
S&R has manufacturing plants in St. Louis, London, Monterrey, Mexico; Changzhou, China; and Sydney, Australia.