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Multi-Million-Dollar Expansion and Upgrades at Pittsfield Plastics

Article-Multi-Million-Dollar Expansion and Upgrades at Pittsfield Plastics

Image courtesy of Pittsfield Plastics Engineering plastic spools
Plastics processor adds new warehouse, injection molding equipment, and material handling system to accommodate growing business volume.

Injection molder and mold maker Pittsfield Plastics Engineering LLC (PPE) has announced a multi-million-dollar expansion at its Pittsfield, MA, headquarters in response to growing demand for its custom and captive molded products. The expansion includes multiple investments in material handling, expanded warehousing, machinery, and its state-of-the-art toolroom.

The company has experienced a steady rise in business volume over the past few years, and expects that trend to continue for the foreseeable future, according to CEO and CFO Bruce Dickson. The expansion will play a key role in meeting the application development needs of customers and unlocking new business opportunities, added Nick Roth, PPE’s national sales and project manager

An integral part of the expansion is a new 9,000-sq-ft warehouse, which will enable PPE to relocate inventory — raw materials and finished goods — currently stored in the plant. Freeing up this space in the plant creates new manufacturing capacity, said Dixon.

The new warehouse, which is digitally connected via the company’s IQMS ERP system, is adjacent to PPE’s current 64,000-sq-ft warehouse, manufacturing plant, and administrative offices. It will supplement the company’s two other warehouse facilities located in the Pittsfield area, plus another one located in North Carolina.

PPE has also installed a state-of-the-art material-handling system that connects to three silos in the rear of the plant, each one storing up to 80,000 lb of material, including polypropylene (PP), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). The Conair automatic loading and conveying system transports material directly from the silos (or gaylords for specialty material) to the molding machines on the plant floor. Automatic color feeders have also been installed to eliminate manual handling and mixing, thereby reducing operational costs and minimizing inaccurate mixtures. Overall, the automated material handling system streamlines PPE’s manufacturing operation and delivers increased accuracy, greater cost efficiencies, and reduced waste of colorants and additives, according to Roth. 

PPE has also made investments in small-size injection molding machines to meet the needs of its diverse customer base. The company has purchased multiple Haitian injection machines with clamp tonnages ranging from 90 to 1200 tons. The 1200-ton unit is employed for outdoor recreational applications, including watercraft products, while the other machines produce a range of captive and custom products for the wire and cable, industrial, and water filtration markets. PPE also purchased 3-axis robots to enhance its overall automation systems. 

Significant investments were also made in PPE’s tool room, which is staffed by seven full-time employees. The full-service mold-making and repair operation has received several new equipment upgrades including the purchase of EDM machines and Haas CNC machines.  

The company previously invested in regulatory accreditations, such as ISO 9001:2015. 

Several site improvements were also made, notably the employee break area and the addition of new parking spaces to accommodate anticipated growth in the company’s workforce.

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