Dalton, Mass.-based Sinicon Plastics Inc. is growing through acquisition and positioning itself for new work by participating in the startup of a regional innovation hub.
Founded in 1968, the injection molder of thermoplastics and silicones began producing tool housings and bearing races for industrial uses before expanding into other industrial parts and components for military, aerospace and medical customers.
Silicone-related production accounts for 15 percent of sales, which is up from 10 percent in 2016, and the division is poised for more growth, President David Allen said in a phone interview.
About a month ago, Sinicon acquired Advance Machine & Tool Inc., a business in neighboring Pittsfield, Mass., that does metal and plastic machining. The 13 employees will be retained.
"I knew that our customers had a need for machined metal and plastic parts, and we had a pretty high confidence level [that] some of this other company's customers might need plastic parts, and both of those are already proving true. " Allen said. "With this acquisition, we can now machine metal and plastic parts in production quantities. Some of these parts may need to be overmolded with silicone, which may lead to more silicone work."
In addition, in the next few months, the nearby Berkshire Innovation Center, a $13.8 million development center, will ramp up to support economic growth, jobs and private investment for small- to medium-sized companies in the region. Sinicon Plastics is among the businesses that have signed a membership agreement with the center, which will have 20,000 square feet of training facilities, biotech wet space, clean rooms, and equipment for precision measurement, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping with 3D printing capabilities in plastics, polyjet technology and metals.
"It's a unique center. Its main function is not to attract new businesses but to help businesses that are already here," Allen said. "Liquid silicone rubber doesn't factor into it in a specific way yet, but there will be 3D printers and it may at some point."
Allen bought Sinicon from the founding owner, Tony Sinico, in 1989 and added LSR capabilities in 2000.
"There weren't a lot of people doing it," Allen said. "Sinicon's history is about highly engineered resins, and I had been molding PEEK so we were used to hot molds. It seemed a natural progression."
Sinicon's first silicone work involved baby bottle nipples. The company then branched out into the military market, producing a component for night vision goggles, followed by the aerospace, medical device and health care markets.
Annual sales could reach $9 million this year, Allen said, following the recent acquisition, which brought the Sinicon workforce to 65 employees.