UPLAND, CALIF. (Dec. 28, 12:35 p.m. ET) — Precision Molded Plastics Inc. expects by late January to upgrade molding process control with a pair of robot-equipped electrics. Three outgoing hydraulics include two still-useful 1979 models.
“We are starting to move back into the medical device market” and aim to install a modular Class 100,000 clean room during 2012, said David VanVoorhis, CEO and president. Annual sales for 2011 at $2.6 million are up about 12 percent from 2010.
By late January, the processor in Upland, Calif., will begin operating two new all-electric 55-ton horizontal injection molding machines from Toyo Machinery & Metal Co. Ltd. Each press is equipped with a HOP five 550x robot and GII-type controller from Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd.
“These new Toyos have the complex process capability to help us to maintain the extremely close-tolerance requirements our customers require,” he said. Once the changes occur, PMP will have 18 presses—three electrics and 15 hydraulics—with clamping forces of 16-310 tons.
Currently, about 25 percent of the business involves plastic grommets and other hardware for management of computer cables, but VanVoorhis wants more market diversity.
Medical work accounted for about 40 percent annually from 1985-2000 but represents about 10 percent now, mostly for short-run jobs. “We dropped out of that market” after losing “a couple of big medical product lines,” he said.
Other current volumes are 18 percent for commercial building products—including proprietary molded plastic corners for window-screen products—and about 10 percent each for industrial, electronic, irrigation and aerospace-defense products.
His father, Ted VanVoorhis, now 73 and retired, established the business in 1979 in an arrangement with Upland mold maker Roberts Tool & Die.
The founder “provided product and mold design assistance along with free mold testing in exchange for a 15-by-18-foot corner of the shop to place a pair of new Boy 15S injection molding machines and their associated support equipment,” his son recalled. “In less than two years, demand outpaced capacity requiring the procurement of two more Boys forcing and financing our first move into a larger building of our own” in the same industrial park. The firm gained a reputation as a specialist molding ultra-small plastic parts.
David VanVoorhis was involved at PMP in his youth but opted to study engineering at California State Polytechnic Institute in Pomona, Calif. He worked elsewhere for a dozen years prior to joining PMP in 2002. He acquired the business from his parents in 2006.
Still in the same industrial park, Precision rents 26,000 square feet in four tightly organized contiguous units.
“I have concentrated on growing as much as I can” within the footprint, he said. “We have been doing lean (manufacturing), 5S (workplace organization) and Six Sigma (quality control) programs. With ongoing growth, we may need to explore site alternatives in a few years.”
Precision's 15 employees “are doing more with the same” resources, said VanVoorhis, who scored a 15-percent reduction in labor costs during 2011.
In December 2010, PMP added a 60-ton electric press from Woojin Selex Co. Ltd. “We have three Woojin presses on the floor now” with hydraulics powering the other two, he said.
VanVoorhis anticipates acquiring two more Toyo electrics during the latter part of 2012.