SAGINAW, Mich.—Specialty Manufacturing Inc. has expanded its capabilities and work force again, thanks primarily to its continued growth in the silicone market.
With the popularity of silicone use in a variety of products surging—particularly in the medical, LED lighting and automotive industries—SMI Vice President Kristi Wiechmann said the company recently added a 450-ton Sodick TR450EH3 liquid silicone rubber injection molding machine and six new production employees.
SMI's latest additions continue a growth trend for the firm, which has added eight production workers and three silicone injection molding machines during the last year, she said. The newest machinery "expands SMI's capabilities to create parts with shots as low as 100 grams, or about the size of a mini desk calculator, all the way to two pounds, the size of a slim laptop."
Wiechmann, one of two daughters of the founders who hold high ranking positions within the firm, said "this expansion allows us to increase production capacity, better serve longtime customers who are experiencing growth, and offer extended capabilities to existing and new customers."
She said the machinery was added for general business growth and because many of the parts the firm makes start out as prototypes. When the product cycle continues, SMI needs additional capacity to meet the growth.
It's the second expansion the company has made in the last three years. In 2016 SMI built an 11,000 sq.-ft. addition to its 14,000-sq.-ft. plant. State-of-the-art assembly and washing areas along with additional molding sections were added.
Saginaw-based SMI has a reputation for providing outstanding quality and for its ability to create custom silicone components on a micro level, said Wiechmann, who also serves as general manager. The firm even custom engineers machinery to meet customers' exact specifications and production timelines.
Because of its success, the company has tentative plans in the works for another expansion to its plant or the addition of a second location within the next three years, she said, adding that SMI's capabilities have expanded into larger parts and it is experiencing growth in that sector of the business.