HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — Two decades ago, Larry Essenburg recognized a parts market in the plastic injection molding industry that hardly any companies were going after. Quitting his job as an injection molding manager at the former Prince Corp., Essenburg and his wife, Connie, founded Ess Tec Inc.to focus on making low cost, small weight — 8 ounces or less — plastic parts for the auto industry. “It turned out to be a great market for us. We grew steadily over the years and in the past two years have had sales increase 30 percent,” said Essenburg, noting the firm this year hit $10 million in sales and is projecting a 15 percent increase for 2012.
The business last year outgrew its original 20,000-square-foot plant at the old Chris Craft building in Holland Township and moved to a new 45,000-square-foot plant, 3347 128th St. In the past year, the company also doubled its staff to 75 employees and added $500,000 in new equipment. “We’ve been blessed. And a lot of our growth has been because of the success of Gentex, who is our largest customer,” said Essenburg, referring to the Zeeland-based automotive mirror manufacturer. “We’re a small company but the products we manufacture are going into cars and trucks all around the world,” said company Vice President Jim Davis, who is also the company’s chief salesman.
Those products range from the plastic cases to hold mirror assemblies to map light accessories and rear camera display reflectors. Two growing areas for the business are printing on plastic parts and vacuum “metalizing” or attaching reflective aluminum to plastic parts for products like vehicle light assemblies. “We have virtually no rejection on parts because if there’s a problem, we go to the customer and solve it up front. Zero defects is the easiest way to do business,” Essenburg said. In addition to Gentex, the company also makes parts for accessory manufacturers Lacks Enterprises Inc. of Grand Rapids, DGE Inc. of Rochester Hills and Johnson Controls International of Holland. Ess Tec parts also can be found in products made for the U.S. military, like compass faces.
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