ORLANDO, FLA. — MSI Mold Builders has recently completed a 12,000-square-foot expansion to its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plant, bringing its total footprint to just under 60,000 square feet.
The company also installed a 3-meter-by-6-meter travel 5-axis machining center and a 3,000-ton injection molding machine for sampling, representing a total investment of just under $6 million, President Roger Klouda said. Lifting capacity at the plant was increased to 30 tons.
“Basically what this allows us to do is additional flexibility in building larger tools. We've opened up a different class of tools for us to be able to build,” Klouda said during an interview at NPE 2015 in Orlando.
MSI's Greenville, S.C., plant also got a new 5-axis machining center, and lifting capacity boosted to 25 tons.
This year was MSI Mold Builders' fourth NPE and its largest booth. This year a Polaris Slingshot was on display, drawing eyes and inquiries. MSI did the tooling for more than half the plastic parts on the Slingshot, including the highly visible hood and dashboard, Klouda said.
“I would hazard a guess that we have the most photographed booth in the show,” he said. And beyond showing off a successful project, he's using the attention to show customers and potential customers how the company has grown.
MSI does most of its work for the recreational vehicle, lawn and garden, heavy truck and medical end markets, and is targeting the automotive market as the company's next growth area, Klouda said. He emphasized the importance of starting small; the company is hoping to have 10 percent of its business in automotive over the next year.
“We want to be a mold maker that does automotive work, rather than an automotive mold maker,” Klouda said.
But the automotive market offers some opportunities not available elsewhere.
“It's a big market that we can't stay out of and grow like we need to grow as an organization,” Klouda said.