General Plastics Inc. is extending its value-added strengths in a $4 million expansion of its Milwaukee thermoforming operation.
The company is installing an advanced spray booth that will complement the recent expansion of its rotary thermoforming and computer numerically controlled routing capabilities. General Plastics also is adding drying capacity for purchased sheet made from hygroscopic resins such as polycarbonate, President Robert Porsche said in a phone interview.
“We've experienced double-digit growth for the past three-plus years,” Porsche explained. Key markets in transportation, construction, point-of-purchase display and medical sectors have buoyed recent sales.
“Our customers want us to grow with them,” Porsche noted. “We answered the bell and said, ‘Yes.'”
New and upgraded equipment is being coordinated with the company's building expansion that should be done by October. General Plastics is adding 42,000 square feet in Milwaukee to grow its footprint to 93,000 square feet.
The extra room means General Plastics can bring warehousing in house to replace a lease on 12,000 square feet nearby. Porsche expects more elbow room will help his firm work more efficiently.
General Plastics began its expansion and upgrade about a year and a half ago and so far has spent about a quarter of its budgeted investment. Porsche expects he will hire about 15 more workers in the near term to join the 70 full time employees now running the business.
General Plastics has been growing since Porsche bought the company in 1987. Last year it booked about $12 million in sales. The company grew in other ways too, which garnered it the 2014 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year award for small businesses employing fewer than 100 employees. General Plastics was cited for commitment to quality, employee empowerment and environmental stewardship.
Porsche said General Plastics runs nine pressure forming and vacuum forming lines and has twin-sheet forming capability. It buys sheet made of PC, PC/ABS blends, thermoplastic polyolefin, polystyrene, engineered polyethylene, acrylic and other polymers. The firm offers secondary services such as prototyping, assembly, decorating and just-in-time delivery.