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Spectrum adds two presses, celebrates 50 years

IMM Staff

October 10, 2008

4 Min Read
Spectrum adds two presses, celebrates 50 years

Thanks to growth in medical molding and the transfer of several tools from an existing customer, Spectrum Plastics Group (Minneapolis, MN; www.spectrumplasticsgroup.com) recently purchased two new Cincinnati Milacron molding machines. The Magna V Series vertical-clamp 40-tonner allows for work with multiple molds and simultaneous operations, including premolding, injection, and postmolding. A Roboshot S2000I-B Series 50-ton all-electric machine was also purchased, and reduces energy consumption by 50-80%. Both machines were bought with flexibility in mind to accommodate future business, according to the company. The company also marked a half-century in business on Sept. 18.

Spectrum's 50-year history:

Provided by Spectrum Plastics Group

The company known today as Spectrum Plastics Group was started in 1958 by Don McCourtney. Renting a 20-by-20-ft space in the back of a bicycle shop, Don McCourtney built his dream using a $6000 loan along with the support of his wife, six kids, a cat, and a used press he purchased for $2000. There were many 16-hour days, six or seven of them a week, making molds and running presses for this one-man operation. Soon McCourtney’s efforts paid off and he had enough work to hire his first employee. McCourtney Plastics Inc. (MPI) was on its way to growing into a thriving business.

“Plastics will be the hottest business in the ‘70s,” was Don McCourtney’s prediction. Slightly off on the decade, MPI moved to its current site, St Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb, in 1964. Business was busting at the seams, using up every square inch of the 20,000-ft2 building. By 1968, MPI employed 75 people, including 17 moldmakers and molding operations three shifts/day, six days/week. Over the years there were a few expansions to the building, which now encompasses more than 105,000 ft2. Two of McCourtney’s sons, Jerry and Mark, joined the business. Jerry took on the position of president in 1978. After 30 years of successfully operating his dream business, Don McCourtney retired in December 1988.

In 1988, Jerry McCourtney partnered with a British company called McKechnie, thus changing the company to McKechnie Plastic Components Corp. The business philosophy of the British company required president Jerry McCourtney and management to make numerous strategic and operational changes. The new strategy created two sales divisions, Regulated Industries (medical and defense) and Commercial (electronics, transportation, industrial) and reduced the number of existing customers to focus only on the top producers. Experiencing some financially lean years, McKechnie combined the sales divisions in 1998 and focused on what was once the company’s original core strategy—molding difficult, highly engineered components for regulated OEM customers, this time with a focus on the automotive, medical, and defense/aerospace markets.

In 2001, the company returned to private ownership with Spell Capital as majority holder. The company changed its name to Midwest Plastic Components (MPC) and worked diligently to become prominent in the plastics industry again. Peter Thompson was named CEO in January 2004. After a few years of focusing on the company’s core competencies of manufacturing highly engineered components and subassemblies for the medical and defense industries, MPC was once again growing and profitable.

MPC’s growth strategy included expanding its molding expertise across the U.S. along with offering new services. In December 2007, MPC purchased a molding facility in Gardena, CA and the rapid prototyping service bureau, Dynacept, located in Brewster, NY. Another molding facility, located in Ansonia, CT, was purchased in February 2008. Protogenic, a rapid prototyping service bureau located in Westminster, CO, was purchased in June 2008 to offer rapid prototyping services to the western United States.

By June 2008 MPC had expanded from California to Connecticut by including two more manufacturing facilities, two rapid prototyping service bureaus, and a new name, Spectrum Plastics Group. “The new name, Spectrum Plastics Group, provides a more accurate description of our new footprint and capabilities,” explains CEO Peter Thompson. “Each facility offers not only another location to existing customers but also new services and capabilities, giving Spectrum Plastics Group an extremely well-rounded service offering that will certainly appeal to new customers as well.

“We listened to our customers as we searched to expand our service offerings. By acquiring these four successful and growing companies that shared a common customer-focused strategy along with selecting a new company name to reflect the breadth of our expanded capabilities and locations, we are now an integrated ‘One Stop Partner’ focused on helping our customers grow their business.”—[email protected]

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