With the addition of these new machines, Viking Plastics has increased capacity and improved process controls while eliminating four older, less-efficient presses. These new presses will also help the company's production goal of improving on the current less than 2.0-ppm quality performance. Viking has implemented a long-term strategic press replacement plan focusing on improved capability and value. The goal is to replace two to four presses annually; Viking Plastics plans to replace two more machines in 2016.
Viking Plastics subcontracts its mold requirements to various moldmaking companies, but offers a full repair and maintenance operation. Currently, the Corry facility employs approximately 115 and was recently honored as Employer of the Year in NW Pennsylvania.
"We came out of the recession full bore, and we've been rolling ever since. This is our fifth year in a row of record sales," said Kelly Goodsel, President and CEO. "These investments will vastly improve our efficiencies and help us satisfy increasing demand from customers and support our sixth year of record sales at Viking Plastics."
Viking currently operates a total of 34 injection presses at the Corry facility, ranging from 35 to 450 tons. However Viking Plastics also operates a facility in China that will have 12 presses by year end. Additionally, Goodsel told PlasticsToday that in 2014, Viking purchased a minority ownership position in injection molding company Injequaly Industria e Comercio Ltda., based in Itaquera, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"We have a number of customers that were shipping product to Brazil and they wanted us to mold closer to them," said Goodsel. "There is a need for good molding and engineering companies, so rather than shipping everything from the United States, we found this company in Brazil and made an ownership investment. It's amazing how global most of [our] customers are. When I mention we have a facility near Shanghai and one in Brazil, that's an attractive option for them."
Goodsel noted that the company is divided into three categories: The custom injection molding "shoot and ship" division; a second business devoted to proprietary products that require post-molding operations such as adding seals and assembling components; and a third business, Viking Assembled Products Co., which is focused on value-add assembly processes using both molded and/or purchased components that are assembled, tested and shipped.
Viking Plastics' various businesses have been continually evolving over the last 15 years, as each of the business divisions has taken off on a different growth path. "The Assembled Products area has been growing the fastest," Goodsel commented. "[This business strategy] is all quite unique, but it opens up greater possibilities to customers who need more than a plastic part put into a box. It also allows us to offer more to our customers, particularly as the auto and appliance OEMs get bigger and demand more value from their supply chain, such as pre-testing and assembly, all of which require engineering resources and expertise. By building on those end capabilities, we've expanded our business."