Voices: Plant Profile

Plant Profiles is a monthly series of introductions to plants with interesting technical, organizational, or business characteristics. They are selected by Stanton McGroarty and the Plant Services staff to be thought provoking reading for factory leaders.

 

Plastics manufacturer celebrates 50 years of safety and innovation

In this Plant Profile, a Wisconsin plastics manufacturer keeps expanding its footprint and influence.

plant profileA half-century is a lot of years of service, even for a custom plastics manufacturer. Evco Plastics celebrated 50 years of innovation in a celebration on Aug. 22 to thank its 1,000 global employees, customers, and the DeForest, Wisconsin, community where its automated molding plant (AMP) specializes in molded parts for food packaging, farm and construction equipment, and recreational vehicles.

The DeForest plant is 52,000 sq ft and home to 52 employees and 25 contractors. Evco was founded in 1964, employs more than 1,000 people, and operates 148 injection molding machines ranging from 28 to 3,500 tons.

plant profile2“AMP was designed from the ground up to be an injection-molding facility with an exact injection molding process in mind, thought up around the flow of materials and precise handling of molds,” says Plant Manager Don Stronach. “It took two years of planning alone to arrive on the efficient design.”

The plant, which holds the safety of its employees paramount, has been accident-free for well over a year. “We have a very strong safety program,” says Stronach. “We have been able to automate more systems, which has also aided in injury prevention.” While safety is important to Evco, sustainability and profitability don’t get swept under the rug. “A closed-loop water system is used to prevent water waste,” says Stronach. “And whenever possible, we recycle used material. Additionally, we are consistently profitable from the operations at AMP. Scientific molding is used to find the best optimal process, and process control is used to reduce waste. We are currently adopting a software program to monitor and reduce energy use to become more eco-friendly. We have had virtually zero customer returns in the past year, with only $145 in returned product.”

plant profile3Through continued and frequent education, training and employee empowerment, AMP has been able to become increasingly efficient in its daily operations. “This helps us focus on improving our sustainable practices and outputs,” says Stronach.

What started as a single 1,200 square-foot building in DeForest has now grown into nine facilities in the United States, Mexico, and China. With expertise that spans large parts to custom medical molds, Evco Plastics continues to evolve in lock step with the plastics manufacturing industry.

“The past 50 years has brought about incredible changes and exciting opportunities within the plastics mold-making industry,” says Dale Evans, president of Evco Plastics. “With a well-seasoned staff and a commitment to continuing education, we bring something new to the table every time we meet with customers. This innovation has been the lifeblood for our growth over the last half-century.”

plant profile4From the company’s CMM laser scanning arm and a soon-to-be-announced 3D printing technology to a 3,500-ton press and an ever-expanding Technology Center, Evco Plastics reconfirms its commitment to excellence within the industry.

“We’re excited to see what the next 50 years holds,” says Evans. “We’re ready for the challenges and are looking forward to the next evolution.”

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