GW Plastics (Bethel, VT) announced the expansion of affiliate GW Silicones' in-house liquid silicone rubber (LSR) tooling capabilities at the the co-located MD&M East and PLASTEC East events in New York today. The expansion was driven both by customer demand and a desire to keep growing as a company, Marketing Coordinator Rebecca Murphy told PlasticsToday from the show floor.
Shortly after founding GW Silicones in 2008, GW realized that offering in-house tooling capabilities would maximize efficiency and component quality, as well as improve responsiveness to its customers, said the company in a news release. Understanding the differences and complexities of silicone versus thermoplastic tooling, GW Silicones' team developed a robust LSR tooling standard to ensure that very fine details and tight tolerances are maintained. Demand for LSR molding continues to grow among global medical device customers, added Murphy.
The company undertook an extensive global search for qualified personnel to shore up its team, which has not been easy, Murphy added, given the skills shortage that exists not only in the United States, but in China and other parts of the world, as well. The effort has paid off with the formation of a highly skilled design team working within a company that emphasizes advanced technological capabilities, a zero defect culture and design integrity.
GW Plastics has also spearheaded a number of programs to help fill the skills gap in the years ahead by kindling interest in manufacturing among young people through its School of Tech. "We bus in a dozen or so high school students for a semester-long course on manufacturing technologies," said Murphy. "It gives some real-world experience to students who may not even consider this as a career possibility." For more about GW's initiatives in this area, read "GW Plastics leads way in workforce training and development."
GW Plastics also announced at MD&M East and PLASTEC East the completion of a 30,000-sq-ft expansion of its Tucson, AZ, facility complete with cleanroom molding and contract assembly, and the final stages of an expansion of its plant in Dongguan, China. The 125,000-sq-ft facility is expected to be fully operational later this year, and will include tooling, molding and medical device assembly capabilities.