Ind-Ex Inc. has dramatically increased its size and moved to a new plant to accommodate an upsurge in rubber extruded product sales, more employees and the addition of the firm's first plastic goods line.
The wholly owned subsidiary of Bronx, N.Y.-based Zero International Inc. expanded its entire operation with the purchase of a 10,500-sq.-ft. site in Middlefield that serves as its headquarters and manufacturing facility. It previously occupied and recently moved from a leased 1,500-sq.-ft. factory in the city, according to General Manager Roy Keech.
The new plant was an ideal fit for Ind-Ex because its former owner, Universal Polymer & Rubber Ltd., used it for rubber and plastic extrusion. Universal currently occupies a facility next to the site.
Ind-Ex, a custom rubber product extruder, also plans to add four employees to give it a work force of seven. In addition, the five-year-old company is installing six new six-inch manual air presses to more than double its splicing capacity, Keech said, to go with its four two-inch air presses. Cost of the plant and new equipment were not disclosed.
``We needed the additional space simply because we're growing and the other plant was too small,'' Keech said. Growing sales within the firm's core business of specialty rubber extruded goods created additional needs, he said. And the company also needed more room to set up a plastics extrusion operation.
In addition, ``we needed more people, and we're talking about putting in another rubber extruder next year,'' he said, which would give the firm two.
The five-year-old company had planned to put in a plastics line, he said, because Ind-Ex produces numerous rubber seals for Zero International and the parent company has a need to use plastics in many of its seals.
Because of that, Ind-Ex had plastics machinery in storage while it waited for the right opportunity to expand its business, Keech said. By expanding into plastic products, Ind-Ex becomes one of a very select group of manufacturers capable of providing rubber and plastic extrusions, he added.
The firm offers specialized services that are difficult to find elsewhere and usually aren't available from a single source, he said. For instance, if a customer wants 3,000 feet of something, ``a lot of manufacturers don't want to touch that. But we will,'' he said, adding that ``we hope it takes off and they'll buy more from us. People often give us a project and ask us to make it work. And we usually do. There's only been one time in five years it didn't work fully.''
The company has a full-time die-maker on staff and a fully equipped machine shop in its plant, allowing it to produce its own dies in-house, with typical turnaround of two to three days.
Ind-Ex produces virtually any standard or customized formulation in any kind of rubber, including EPDM, silicone and neoprene in both dense and sponge forms, nitrile, and SBR. Its capabilities include seals, weatherstripping and rubber straps. It offers O-ring stock in continuous lengths up to 1,000 feet and longer. The firm also can produce non-reinforced tubing suitable for applications ranging from air conditioning to cosmetics to low-pressure hoses for fish tanks.
The company serves a variety of industries, including agricultural, appliance, construction, food processing, packing and automotive aftermarket.