Gentry Plastics Inc. is leveraging its experience in complex molds to capture new business.
The private company has moved into a larger facility and added more machinery to support the quest, said Brian Hershman, vice president of operations.
Gentry recently invested more than $500,000 in its growth strategy, Hershman said in a phone interview from Gentry's Gastonia, N.C., head office. It bought the Gastonia building, which at 30,000 square feet is two thirds larger than its previous facility in Charlotte, N.C.
Hershman said the move included installing a new 500-ton Toshiba injection molding press, more auxiliary equipment and more tool-building machinery.
"A couple of customers asked us to get bigger presses," Hershman explained. With its larger tonnage on offer, Gentry can more competitively quote on jobs that comprise several parts to be made in one mold.
Gentry now runs 15 injection presses from 35 to 500 tons. The horizontal machines are often configured for insert molding or overmolding. Secondary processes like assembly, welding, machining and decorating are done in house.
Mike Stephens and Mike Savoie, founded Gentry more than 10 years ago after broad experience as toolmakers. Gentry continues the tool building tradition, making more than 80 percent of the molds it will run for customers. Hershman said the company focuses on parts needing complex tools and precise molding. Gentry often incorporates several slides and lifters in the molds.
Hershman pointed to night vision components as the type of technical job it regularly tackles. Such parts can need up to six threads molded into the part, which is made of carbon-filled polyetherimide. Gentry has used that expertise to capture new jobs in lighting, medical, metal replacement, military and automotive applications.
Gentry can start a program with mold design and see it through to commercial production. When tool production requires a short turnaround time, the company can shift overflow work to trusted partners in Asia to help keep it on schedule.
Hershman said Gentry is on track to log sales of about $3.2 million this year, more than double its 2015 sales mark. Employment has trebled to about 30 in that time. The company had ISO 9001 certification in its previous facility and is in the process of re-certifying at the new Gastonia operation.