By Becky Hurley | Apr 06, 2015
With glass-filled nylon parts for the auto industry or carbon nanotubes for an electronics manufacturer, CEO Hyrum Anderson forecasts growth in the $500 billion global plastics industry.
High Performance Engineering's engineers and technicians have earned a reputation for "fast plastic parts." Even a complex mold can be designed to specification in 24 to 48 hours. Some of the company's clients have received millions of parts ready for market within a few days of ordering.
That's in contrast to competitors that often depend on outsourced design services. "That can add as much as 12 weeks to a single mold's production cycle," Anderson explains.
The key, he says, is built on an efficient, precise full-service operation. "That's why we keep almost everything in house -- from getting raw steel or aluminum from Alcoa to hiring the talent to build specialized molds to adding overtime shifts when necessary," he says.
Once a mold is completed, it is inserted into equipment that transforms molten plastic into a designed shape by pumping the hot plastic under extreme pressure into a mold made of suitable material. Upon cooling, the object is removed from the mold, retaining its shape. More complex shapes can include built-in removable sections or slides. Raw materials -- usually resin pellets -- are formulated for hardness and malleability to match a finished product's intended use.
Anderson has forged strong customer relationships. Hard drive and digital storage giant Seagate, for example, has been a client for more than 10 years. Automakers Chrysler and Dodge used to produce their own plastic parts in-house, but today it's more efficient for High Performance Engineering (HPE) to provide Tier 1 and 2 plastic component services. The operation has also found a solid niche as the creator for and manufacturer of specialized molded parts for hot tub companies and medical device manufacturers.
It's the value-add that keeps them coming back. "We can be a service provider -- and an OEM, from initial mold creation and pre-testing all the way through production," Anderson explains. HPE, for example, makes the molds, and delivers custom parts to an automaker's specifications. The company also collaborates with the client's logistics teams to ship materials it produces to the next destination in Mexico, the U.S. or even China for assembly. In fact, after the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, an overseas auto manufacturer called the company to rush-ship millions of components -- and got them.
"They told us what they wanted, and we sent them the finished parts -- without waiting for drawings or relying on project history," he adds.
Anderson credits both collaborative customer relationships and full-service in-house design and production capabilities for HPE's 10 consecutive years of 30 to 40 percent growth.
Not a bad track record for a plastic injection molding company that tries not to promote itself. "We never advertise and our website could use updating. I've had some customers just walk in the door and say, 'So glad we found you!'" Anderson says.
Challenges: "For big jobs on a tight deadline and budget, we often compete with overseas producers. That means we have to be close to the lowest cost. Our advantage is the ability to deliver better quality parts faster."
Opportunities: "We could easily double our business in the next 10 years. There are a lot of customers we don't have. At the same time, we need to stay sustainable," Anderson says. "Thirty percent annual growth is ideal, while 40 percent might be too much. We are constantly managing our growth."
Needs: "We're looking for clients that understand our full line of capabilities," says Anderson. "We've put a lot of effort into quick-turnaround plastic products, but we are also equipped to handle high volume, high-quality order fulfillment."