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An injection molding operation that produces parts on-site at a customer's plant has worked out so well Tiercon Industries (Stoney Creek, ON) is planning on extending the practice to another of the cu...
An injection molding operation that produces parts on-site at a customer’s plant has worked out so well Tiercon Industries (Stoney Creek, ON) is planning on extending the practice to another of the customer’s facilities. Tiercon currently runs four injection molding machines inside A.G. Simpson’s metal stamping facility in Oshawa, ON, according to Rick Legate, Tiercon president and CEO. The machines, which range from 300- to 2,200-ton in clamping force, are used to mold plastic top caps. The top caps are assembled to steel bumpers manufactured by A.G. Simpson. Molding the parts on-site saves considerable costs associated with racking and shipping the parts.
Legate says a similar operation will be installed at A.G. Simpson’s facility in Shreveport, LA this fall. Tiercon is buying a 1100-ton injection molding machine to mold parts for a rear-step bumper going on a medium-size pick-up truck.
Two years after the company was purchased from Noble International by a group of private investors, Tiercon has grown its sales by approximately 40%, reaching $160 million in 2002. The company molds a variety of exterior and interior parts, including rocker panels, cladding systems, body side moldings, running boards, B pillars, glove box latches and others. Over 60% of its business is with General Motors, with the remainder going to a handful of Tier One suppliers such as A.G. Simpson, Decoma, Lear, Textron and a few others.
Tiercon opened a new 300,000 sq. ft. molding and manufacturing facility in Stoney Creek last year. The Stoney Creek facility consolidated the operations of four separate plants, subsequently enhancing the company’s speed and efficiency. The plant, which is currently running on a three-shift, five-day work schedule, has 37 injection presses ranging from 125 to 3300 tons of clamping force. Tiercon also operates a 90,000 sq. ft. interior components, painting, assembly and sequencing plant in Vassar, MI and a 162,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art painting facility in Stoney Creek that was opened in January, 2000. The painting facility is capable of painting all plastic substrates, with either high- or low-bake processing methods.
“We feel painting is one of our strengths,” says Legate. “The plant is built for high-efficiency, so there’s little waste and we are able to achieve fast change-over times between different colors and part configurations.”
While Tiercon molds parts out of virtually every type of plastic, Legate says the company is one of the largest users of TPOs and TPUs in Canada. The materials are used in exterior decorative trim applications. The Stoney Creek molding and assembly plant has three major assembly areas and nine silos. All injection machines are vacuum-fed and most are equipped with robotics for part removal and degating. Current initiatives include the installation of a mold repair shop that will allow the plant to do all mold repair and maintenance on site. The company is also planning on installing beside-the-press grinders at all machines and is working on up-grading work cell productivity by furnishing work areas with improved lighting and display boards showing job instructions, quality and other critical production information.
Legate says poor market conditions will result in relatively flat sales growth in 2003, but that he expects business to pick up again in 2004. One of the company’s key future objectives, he reports, is to diversify its customer base.
“With the facilities we have we could probably do in the range of $230 to $250 million in business per year,” he says. “We’re prepared to build new facilities to go above that.”