Assuming an aggressive position in the marketplace is paying off for Decker Industries Inc., a maker of polyurethane processing equipment.
The operating unit of North Canton-headquartered Liquid Control Corp. expects to expand its reach in a number of markets and pull in 25 percent of its sales from new business in fiscal 2004, according to Mac Larsen, vice president and general manager of Decker.
Those projections partially are based on new products it has been developing in 2003, he said.
The company recently came out with the Decker DL-3 urethane elastomer or foam dispensing machine; a compact, low-pressure inline mixer called ParaDyne; and a high-pressure, impinge mix C-Spray reaction injection molding gun and metering/tempering unit. It has others that will be unveiled in the next several months.
The Decker DL-3 machine offers continuous flow, variable rate precision gear pump technology for a variety of bonding, molding or core filling applications.
It is a ``success story for modular design with low price and high value,'' Larsen said. ``It is generally used on non-form applications and can be adapted to process many urethane formulation variations such as filled polyols for lower cost, optically clear urethanes, laminating adhesives and solvent coatings.''
ParaDyne is a compact, low-pressure inline mixer that uses disposable mix elements and allows for processing without the use of solvent flushing. It features a special device to eliminate dripping between shots in auto- mated production lines, he said.
The C-Spray RIM gun is designed to spray an elastomeric coating into molds to form a tough skin backed with flexible foam. The sprayed-on polyurethane skin replaces the more expensive vinyl vacuum forming or upholstering pro-cesses. ``With its internal recirculating and patented injection technology, we have much better temperature control and a very good mix that ensures high physical properties of the sprayed foam,'' Larsen said.
Palm City, Fla.-based Decker has been making solid inroads into the automotive aftermarket industry. It supplies polyurethane process machines to make ground effects, special seating and interior parts for customization of cars and trucks, he said.
``These machines were sold to a large number of individual shops primarily throughout Southern California and Michigan. Detroit seems to be pulling in some of these custom designs and offering them in special packages and graphics to the consumer market either directly or through factory dealers,'' Larsen said.
That has resulted in a greater volume in parts, more integration of process machinery into robotic work cells and greater support demands around the clock, he said.
``Some of our developments have been directed to this marketplace, to supply polyurethane machinery that is adaptable to more robotic work cells, designing our own specialized work cells and controlling machines with customized software for recipe downloads required in high mix production lines.''
The company also has made gains in the medical, aerospace and military, novelty and residential product markets, he said.
Decker has been manufacturing low- and high-pressure mixing units for 40 years. The low-pressure machines have flow rates from one gram per second up to 220 pounds a minute and the high-pressure units are capable of delivering 250 pounds per minute for polyurethane foams and elastomers, Larsen said.
The company provides full process development services at its Palm City laboratory where it designs and builds machines based on virtually any dispensed urethane. The firm also rebuilds mix heads, exchangers, pumps and complete machines routinely, a spokeswoman said.
Liquid Control designs and manufactures meter, mix and dispense equipment for reactive resin systems and for single- and multiple-component applications.
``We're aggressive with new products and new markets,'' Larsen said. In the past nine months the company also has expanded its staff by about 20 percent.
Decker works closely with material suppliers because ``we want to be there when they develop something new,'' Larsen said. ``We then develop machines to tie in with the new chemistry.''
The company's biggest challenge in the future will be to balance new business growth with its traditional business as the economy improves, the executive said.
``We have well over 1,200 systems in the field and are still supporting machines made in the 1960s,'' Larsen said. ``We typically see 50 percent of our sales coming from existing customers. When our many customers start investing in new machines, they will come to us wanting duplicates, improved machines as well as new technology.''
The company's growth plan is to support the needs of its current customer base while it forges ahead into new technologies and markets, he said, pointing out that its ``knowledgeable, motivated and informed work force is key to this success.''