Morris Latex Products Inc. will double capacity of neoprene breathing bags at its Noble, Okla., factory by the end of 2004 to keep up with demand.
The company has added five dipping lines and will put in an additional oven by year-end to give it the ability to run natural or synthetic rubber bags simultaneously, according to Walter Morris, Morris Latex's founder.
Presently, the firm doesn't have the oven capacity to handle five neoprene lines and the NR lines at the same time. The new automatic oven will allow it to do so, he said at the International Latex Conference, held July 20-21 in Fairlawn, Ohio.
The firm also ``will take a hard look at some point at dipping other items,'' said Morris, who serves as president and CEO of the company, although Executive Vice President Timothy Morris, his son, manages the operation. ``We've got a 24,000-sq.-ft. building next to our plant we can used for that purpose.''
Morris Latex is the sole source of breather bags for most of its customers, and operates its 75,000-sq.-ft. plant in Noble 24 hours a day, four days a week. The new lines and oven should not impact that setup, Walter Morris said, but the firm can expand its workweek and work force should the need arise. The company's staff fluctuates between 80 and 100.
``We've made a commitment to our customers that they can't outstrip our inventory,'' Morris said. ``We've been doing this for 24 years and we deliver what we promise.'' The company produces 15 different rubber latex or neoprene breathing bags in various sizes.
The firm has a number of other plans on the drawing board, but Morris said it is premature to divulge them. Because it's debt-free and has strong cash reserves, its options are numerous.
A group of companies Morris Latex purchased last year that operate under a separate holding company, MMS L.L.C., are doing well, he said. ``It's taken us about a year to get those businesses off the ground and on their feet, but we're pleased with the results so far.''
Those companies are managed by Morris' son, David. Two are marketing and sales businesses while two-Poland-based Avion Medical Spolko z.o.o. and CPM de Reynosa S.A. de C.V. of Mexico-primarily are manufacturers of respiratory and anesthesia devices.
Each is expanding its base and essentially becoming job shops that produce both medical and non-medical products. The two businesses do extrusion and injection molding along with packing of parts for medical product makers. They handle small- and medium-sized projects at their factories and are concentrating on growing as contract and original equipment manufacturers.
``They're doing much more contract manufacturing than they did before,'' Morris said. ``Because we can do custom molding of practically any material, we'll make anything we can sign contracts on-as long as we make a profit.''