A Massachusetts injection molder is putting the finishing touches on an expansion effort valued at more than $2 million that's adding both more space and new equipment.
Completion of the yearlong project at Pittsfield Plastics Engineering LLC is about a month away, National Sales Manager Nick Roth said.
A 9,000-square-foot warehouse expansion is a key to the work as the new space creates more room to add manufacturing capacity where raw materials and finished goods were once stored on the factory floor, he explained.
"By freeing up floor space and moving stuff back into this new warehouse, it's going to open so many opportunities for us because it's going to give us more manufacturing space. And, in return, it gives me a chance to go chase more business and then hire more employees. That's my goal," Roth said.
Along with adding square footage, the company also has installed a new material handling system connected to three silos each with a capacity to hold 80,000 pounds of material including polypropylene, high-impact polystyrene and ABS. The new system supplied by Conair transports resin directly from the silos or gaylord boxes to molding machines, the company said.
The project also adds two new Haitian injection molding machines with a clamping force of 800 tons each. This brings the company's fleet of injection molding machines to 25 with a range of 90 to 1,200 tons of clamping force. PPE also is adding three-axis robots to help increase automation.
"This significant investment reaffirms our continued commitment to growing our plastics processing business, and we expect these new capabilities to take our company to the next level," CEO Bruce Dixon said in a statement.
PPE's proprietary products include spools, cores for tapes and films, dye tubes and cones, bobbins for thread, and reels.
The company also does custom injection molding for outside customers, and that business has been booming thanks to the impact of COVID-19 in recent years, Roth explained. He particularly cited production of parts used on outdoor recreation products including kayaks and canoes as a driving force.
PPE currently employs about 100 workers, and Roth hopes to be able to add to that total through the additional work he expects to attract through the new project. "We're ready for all takers. Any industrial molding job we will not refuse," he said.
The new warehouse space is adjacent to the company's current 64,000-square-foot building in Pittsfield that currently houses manufacturing, offices and warehouse operations. The company also has two other existing warehouses in Pittsfield and Lenox Dale, Mass., as well as another in Marion, N.C., PPE said.
PPE also made improvements in the company's tooling room with new electrical discharge machining and Hass computer numerated control equipment.
The company spent additional cash on improving outside amenities to accommodate anticipated workforce growth. This includes adding 25 parking spaces and an outdoor employee break and lunch area.
"Over the past several years, we've enjoyed a steady rise in business volume, and this appears to be our trend for the foreseeable future," Dixon said in his statement.