Family molding business does it their way
In an era of IPOs and franchise molding operations, Krauss Plastics Inc. is a throwback to the plastics industry's earlier days. A custom molder in the truest sense of the description, the family-owne...
In an era of IPOs and franchise molding operations, Krauss Plastics Inc. is a throwback to the plastics industry’s earlier days. A custom molder in the truest sense of the description, the family-owned business functions by its own set of rules, doing what it has to do to survive and to keep things running on an even keel. Sometimes this means taking on business others turn down, and sometimes it requires turning down business others would be glad to get.
“We’re a different type of company,” says Frank Krauss, production manager. “Our philosophy is to leave a mold in the press, rather than changing molds three times a day. We’re not that concerned if a press sits idle for little while.”
Frank and his brother, Roland, do all the mold changes for the company’s 16 Kawaguchi presses, ranging from 80- to 500-tons, in the company’s clean 15,000 sq. ft. plant in Woodbridge, Ont. Krauss says he is not in favor of quick mold change systems because they reduce mold height and are costly.
While the company may not be overly concerned with maximizing operation efficiency, Krauss is always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. Most presses have conveyors for removal and boxing of parts. A rotating grating system separates parts from runners, which are fed into a small shredder and turned into regrind. When check rings on machine screws become worn, Krauss has replacement rings machined and heat-treated at a local machine shop, rather than buy original equipment replacement parts at a substantial mark-up. Currently the company uses 60 to 80 percent regrind resin, most of which it buys directly from other large molders in the area.
The company has recently purchased a new 140-ton Kawaguchi, which it expects to have running by the end of the month. The new machine will be used to make a high-volume automotive part that was being molded in the U.S. Krauss says the two-cavity mold being used to mold the main component of the assembly will see at least 2500 hours of operation.
Another new job for the company is a nylon gas cap previously molded by a large Tier 1. Krauss says large automotive suppliers are seeking to outsource more molding in order to concentrate on systems design and manufacturing. Kraus Plastics also molds a variety of parts for the construction, consumer and recreation markets, including one of its original proprietary parts, a hockey stick blade.
Krauss reports that business at the company his father Hans founded 35 years ago is as good as it has ever been, but changed. “There’s a lot more bureaucracy involved in getting work these days. Having the best price doesn’t mean you’ll get the job.”