MANTUA, Ohio—Mantaline Corp. has expanded its use of thermoplastic elastomers and injection molding in gaskets and seals.
In July, the company opened a production plant in Hiram, Ohio, about 15 minutes from its headquarters in Mantua, Ohio. Mantaline invested about $1 million to buy an existing 30,000-sq.-ft. facility, renovate it and equip it with a three-layer profile extrusion line and two small injection molding machines dedicated to gasket and seal production, Mark Trushel, Mantaline president and CEO, said in a phone interview.
“It's our foray into plastics,” Trushel noted.
Mantaline has mainly used thermoset rubbers to extrude and compression mold gaskets and seals for cars and heavy trucks. Some of its products required a separate step to incorporate a component after the gasket or seal was extruded or molded. Trushel said now the company can insert mold the components from thermoplastic elastomers.
The Hiram operation expands the company's use of injection molding for that finishing step and will boost extrusion of thermoplastic profiles. The Mantua factory had been doing a limited amount of thermoplastic extrusion.
Mantaline has been extruding and compression molding various thermoset rubbers since its inception in 1964. It is adding thermoplastic elastomers, thermoplastic vulcanizates and thermoplastic polyolefins to its material options to keep pace with industry trends in parts consolidation, simplified manufacturing, color matching and recycling. It also is doing more silicone rubber molding.
“Rubber continues to be important, but thermoplastics are becoming more important, and we want to be successful with both,” Trushel explained.
The Hiram extrusion line can make profiles from three different materials.
“This facility allows us to work around the clock with new capacities and capabilities and add new products to our portfolio,” stated Tom Milinar, vice president of business development, in a news release. The eight-acre site has room to expand, and more extrusion lines are planned.
Air conditioning in the Hiram plant will help cut down on moisture, and a drying system on the extrusion line eliminates moisture in raw materials. Quality control digital comparators will make it easy to monitor the three-extruder setup in real time.
“This facility permits us to blend a whole new set of materials with state-of-the-art processing,” Milinar added.
Trushel said his company does not intend to add custom injection molding to its business but rather to use it in conjunction with its core technologies of extrusion and compression molding.
Mantaline opened a rubber extrusion facility in San Antonio a year ago to be closer to customers moving work to southern states. Its other manufacturing location is in Monterrey, Mexico. It opened the facility several years ago to do finishing work on products it molds and extrudes in the U.S. In 2009, it closed a factory in Aurora, Ohio, when a severe downturn in vehicle production drastically cut sales.
Mantaline has been an employee-owned company since 1989. It employs about 175 and is ISO certified.