NEW BEDFORD, Mass.—Rubber product molder Polyneer Inc. will expand its manufacturing operation by adding machinery, giving it the ability to handle rising customer demand.
The custom manufacturer has purchased two horizontal rubber injection molding machines for its 20,000-sq.-ft. New Bedford plant.
Once installed, the equipment also will help it to make parts more cost effectively, especially in its automotive sector, according to President and CEO Mike Fernandes.
In addition, he said Polyneer probably will add as many as five employees to its work force of 30.
Fernandes anticipates the machines will arrive at the end of February and it will take about a week to install the equipment. Work is almost complete on the necessary infrastructure, he said.
The prime reason the company is making the move is that one of the firm's automotive customers gave Polyneer the opportunity to bid on a major project and it won the contract, valued at more than $500,000.
The other driving force behind the additions is Poly-neer's strategy to change its machinery structure within a two-year span, Fernandes said. That plan calls for the company to produce its rubber products on horizontal machinery and all rubber-to-metal goods on the firm's vertical equipment.
The state on Massachusetts is providing a $565,000 loan at reduced interest rates through its MassDevelopment program to help the firm move quickly on the expansion project. MassDevelopment is the state's finance and development authority.
“MassDevelopment has been extremely supportive of manufacturing in the state,” Fernandes said.
“Working to stimulate economic growth for manufacturers like Polyneer à are top MassDevelopment priorities,” Robert Culver, the authority's president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.
He said that New Bedford successfully has promoted advanced manufacturing and “we're pleased to help a à company meet the increasing demand for its products.”
Polyneer makes about 350 products, including O-rings, bearings and other types of seals. Its specialty process is Lo-Waste rubber injection molding, Fernandes said, but it also does rubber injection molding, cast urethane processing, cryogenic deflashing and automated vision inspection. All parts are custom made.
The New Bedford-headquartered firm has a big presence in the automotive industry and serves a variety of other sectors, including energy, consumer and defense.
“This is our 10th anniversary, and we've experienced great growth.” Fernandes said “We hope to be at $4.2 million (in sales) at the end of the year.”
That growth came on the heels of an extremely tough 2009, when the firm lost some business. But the company got it back and has improved steadily in the last year, he said.