Say Plastics Inc. is taking steps to better utilize its tooling system in the transportation market, and is using funds from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania to develop its abilities.
“We're thermoformers so we have to be innovative. We find a lot of our customers come in and want short runs,” said Ron Staub, vice president and general manager of McSherrystown, Pa.-based Say Plastics.
Staub said that means the company works on the right design and approaches to find a cost-effective way to make the product.
He said that to win a contract that the company has to offer alternatives. One way is to work with composites instead of relying on aluminum tooling.
“We developed our tooling method — it's our own way of engineering and we will look at a program to see what we can do. If we can cut our own tools, it cuts down on time and cost for the customer,” he said.
Staub said that part of the plan is to process materials carefully.
“We measure temperatures carefully with extra sensors,” he said.
Staub said the transportation area provides a niche where the company sees a lot of potential. By re-engineering parts Say Plastics can help make trucks last longer, refurbish rail cars and buses.
Staub said that some railcars may have fiberglass parts that were made 25-30 years ago and their replacements may not be available. If Say Plastics can reverse engineer the part and do a short run to provide replacements, it has value for the customer.
He said that Say Plastics does have an engineer on staff, but will use a $125,000 loan from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners to add engineering expertise to handle even more reverse engineering projects.
Say Plastics currently has 14 employees, with five sheet-fed thermoformers and four routers. It expects to add three to four more employees.
Staub said sales were up about 20 percent last year and that they are hoping to do the same this year.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners is a state technology-based economic development program that supports start-up companies and established companies looking for ways to grow or diversify.