Structural foam molding specialist 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics Ltd. is adding equipment — including a massive 8,000-ton press — and more than 100 jobs to its plants in Holiday City, Ohio, and Bluffton, Ind.
President Ron Ernsberger said business is very good, with all end markets doing well.
"We are planning for double-digit sales growth again this year. With the new machines we have on order, it will be 2023 until we see a year where we are running all of the machines," he said in response to emailed questions.
"It is hard for me to understand. Material pricing is high and going up, we cannot get enough employees, raw material is being allocated, and we are dealing with a pandemic. I only wish I knew what was driving demand today, but we are very busy."
The company, which has a long relationship with machinery supplier Milacron, is adding several big structural foam presses and also relocating some high-pressure presses, Ernsberger said. All of the new equipment is from Milacron.
The 225,000-square-foot Holiday City headquarters plant is adding two 3,000-ton high-pressure machines and one 8,000-ton high-pressure machine this year and into 2022. The 375- and 500-ton high-pressure presses in Holiday City will be relocated to the 325,000-square-foot Bluffton facility. In addition, Bluffton will receive three new structural foam presses over the next 18 months.
"The 8,000-ton machine is the largest machine of its kind ever built," Ernsberger said. "We currently employ about 440 people and we have openings for an additional 140 people at this time. The new equipment will add an additional 35 people."
Ernsberger said the company's ability to grow is rooted in its goal to exceed customer expectations.
"As a custom molder, we must constantly push the envelope to find ways to do things better, faster and more economically. Delivering quality parts on time every time is key," Ernsberger said. "Growing the business is one thing, but doing so while expanding our capacities and capabilities is another."
Ernsberger said 20/20 posted 2020 sales in excess of $100 million.
The expansion allows 20/20 to bring on new projects, Executive Vice President Chad Adams said.
"We highly anticipate watching our teams at both locations grow. Our employees are a huge part of 20/20's success and we are forever in debt to them," Adams said.
The company has served the structural mold injection industry for more than 20 years. Ernsberger, Chief Financial Officer David Rupp and David Blosser founded the company in the fall of 1999.
"We started the company with a new 37,000-square-foot building, two new Uniloy multinozzle low-pressure injection molding machines, on 32 acres of land in Holiday City, Ohio. It has been full speed ahead ever since," Ernsberger said.
"Today we have over 750,000 square feet under roof, run seven low-pressure multinozzle injection molding machines, and 13 high-pressure injection molding machines that includes the largest high-pressure injection molding machine of its kind ever built," he said.
The Bluffton plant opened in 2017 with seven machines.
"Today that facility, through our expansion, has grown to over 575,000 square feet on 54 acres of land. By June of 2022 we will have 14 multinozzle low-pressure injection molding machines and seven high-pressure injection molding machines in this facility."
Livingston, N.J.-based Inteplast Group, a plastic film and products manufacturer, became a part-owner of 20/20 in 2015, when one of the founders wanted to sell his interest in the company.
Today Inteplast is the majority owner of 20/20.
"They were looking to purchase a company that could be the final piece of their recycling puzzle," Ernsberger said.
He added that, like most molders, 20/20 is currently dealing with shortages of resin, following the winter storm that hit Texas and temporarily shut down many chemical plants.
"I have worked in the plastics industry since 1965 and I have never seen anything like we are dealing with today," he said. "I wish I knew what the new normal was going to be."