Thomas Orr, CEO of Seaway Plastics Engineering, sits down with John Maher to talk about the new relationship between Seaway Plastics and Wright Engineered Plastics. They discuss Seaway’s acquisition of Wright Engineered Plastics and explain how the two businesses are better together.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Thomas Orr, CEO of Seaway Plastics Engineering. Our topic today is Seaway Plastics and Wright Engineered Plastics, better together. Welcome Tom.
Tom Orr: Hi John. Thanks for having me.
Motivation Behind the Acquisition
John: Sure. So Tom, Seaway Plastics in Florida recently acquired Wright Engineered Plastics in Santa Rosa, California. What was the motivation for that acquisition?
Tom: Sure. So over the years, Seaway has mainly focused on highly engineered, low to mid volume injection molding business servicing customers on the Eastern half of the United States, and in order to expand our services, we made the decision to acquire a company on the west coast to broaden our customer base and geographic reach. So the purchase of Wright also increases our number of customers in the medical industry, and our goal is to focus on servicing customers in highly regulated industries, such as medical, aerospace, and defense.
Working Together to Expand Capabilities
John: I wanted to ask what types of capabilities and facilities Seaway Plastics has versus the capabilities that Wright Engineered Plastics brings to the table, and maybe you can talk a little bit more about that ability to work with the medical industry and things like that. I imagine that’s part of that.
Tom: Sure. Yeah. In addition to injection molding and post molding operations at Seaway, we have a full service tool shop in Florida building over 200 molds per year, and we have partnerships with three facilities in China for mold making. So domestic mold making is now a service that the Wright customers will be able to take advantage of for quicker turnaround tooling.
In addition to acquiring 21 injection molding machines in the Wright acquisition, the company has significant experience in insert and over molding. The company at Wright has a 450 ton two-shot machine for over molding, and many of the projects that we are awarded require over molding and this was an important quality offered by Wright. Additionally, Wright has many years of experience in turnkey assembly and has to hard wall clean rooms to complete this service, and this is an important asset actually for the company to acquire, to service more medical customers.
Wright Enhances Seaway’s Over-Molding Capabilities
John: So talk a little bit more about that over molding and what that is and why it is that that’s important that you bring that into the fold as a capability that you have now.
Tom: Sure. So many of the projects that we take on in the medical industry are more medical device related, and a lot of those devices will have a substrate of one material and then an over molded rubber type of material for handling. And so from a mold making standpoint, we do over molding at Seaway, but Wright also has a large amount of experience with over molding and they have a two-shot injection molding where the process is all done in one machine at the same time. So that was important to our acquisition.
Seaway Brings Domestic Tooling to Wright
John: Right. And you said that Seaway Plastics has the ability to do mold making both overseas and in-house, and maybe the in-house part of that was something that Wright didn’t really have. So again, by combining the two companies you’re both adding to each other’s capabilities.
Tom: That is correct. Yeah. Wright does not build tools at their facility. They have a shop to do repair work, but after interviewing many of their customers, they expressed an interest in having domestic tooling produced. And so at Seaway, we have the ability now to produce domestic tooling for their customers.
Increased Support for East and West Coast Customers
John: Right. So does having facilities on both coasts also help solve any issues with distribution or opening up new markets? I know that you said that you generally at Seaway dealt with more customers on the east coast, so does this open it up so that you’re now nationwide?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. The main reason for purchasing Wright was to have a facility on the west coast to service the high number of customers in Northern and Southern California. In Southern California, there’s a large number of medical device companies, and so in the past, the company had difficulty securing new business in that region due to being located in Florida.
John: Okay. Yeah. So if that’s where the business is in terms of the medical companies, that makes sense to have a facility that’s nearby and that helps you to get those contracts with those companies.
Tom: Correct. Absolutely.
The Future of Seaway and Wright
John: Right. So where do you see the future of Seaway Plastics and Wright Engineered Plastics taking you over the next five to 10 years?
Tom: So our mission is to continue to grow our capabilities and production capacity to service customers, mainly in highly regulated industries. Many of these customers require low to mid volume production, but now we have two facilities that are set up for higher volume production, including more automation. The company will also continue to expand our services as we add clean room capabilities for molding and assembly, and we’ll have that on both coasts.
So we’ll have clean room capabilities, molding, and assembly in our Florida facility, and in our California facility. Seaway will continue to offer complete in-house services which include domestic built tooling, small to large part molding and post-production services, including turnkey assembly, along with painting and finishing services. This extensive amount of services will allow for the company to offer the highest quality and quickest turnaround for complex projects going forward.
Seaway and Wright Keep Their Names and Brand Identities
John: In terms of the customers, are they dealing with Seaway Plastics as the main company and then Wright Engineered Plastics is more of a facility that they’re dealing with, or are you keeping both company names alive, or how is that working?
Tom: Right. So we’re keeping both brands, both names will exist. If customers are geographically located, or if the Wright facility has a capability that is preferred by that customer, then we’ll service it out of the Wright facility. So it depends on geographically where the customer’s located and really what they’re looking for. In terms of some of the engineering tool making, we’ll be doing that at Seaway, but essentially servicing and supporting Wright Engineered Plastics, but Wright will continue to exist as basically a division of Seaway Plastics.
Contact Seaway Plastics for More Information
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Tom. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Tom: Thank you. It was my pleasure. Appreciate it.
John: And for more information, you can contact Seaway Plastics Engineering at seawayplastics.com or call 727-845-3235.