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Malish Plastics settles into larger operations in Mentor

Crain's Cleveland

Malish Plastics has moved its headquarters and manufacturing operations about five  miles away to Mentor, after outgrowing its base for decades in Willoughby.

The custom extruder of thermoplastic pipe, profiles and tubing is a division of Malish Corp., a family-owned business founded in 1948 as Malish Brush & Specialty Co.

As an OEM brush supplier, Malish brought extrusion of the components for its products in house in 1988. Those brush customers also had other extrusion needs, and the plastics side of the business expanded beyond Malish’s original product line, which was cylindrical brush cores made of ABS and polyethylene for its industrial floor cleaning equipment.

The company grew from one to eight extrusion lines at its 84,000-square-foot Willoughby site over the years as it got into end markets for point-of-purchase, construction and windows and doors, according to David Hutson, national sales manager of the plastics division.

Now the business moved into a 160,000-square-foot facility in mid-December. The owners renovated a former metal business damaged by fire in July 2014.

“Some walls had to be rebuilt and roofing redone,” Hutson said in a phone interview. “Then, we have to run water lines for the extrusion lines. We’re remodeling offices as well. It’s going to be a very convenient move because it’s about five miles farther east, but it’s going to be a difficult move because the Malish family has been a stalwart in the Willoughby business community. We’ve been here a long time so that’s a little tough, but this was an attractive location.”

The larger manufacturing area comes with more space for storage and shipping docks, which will make it easier to pull products for orders.

“It gives us more space for (just-in-time)programs where we have to maintain inventory levels,” Hutson said. “We will be more efficient as we plan for our customers’ needs.”

Malish also will be able to add equipment, but began by moving existing machinery.

At its previous site, the company has been limited to running 2½ and 3½ inch products or lines because of space constraints.

“It limits your throughput,” Hutson said. “They’re great for certain size parts, but as the parts get heavier, you need to push more plastic and you need longer cooling time and the length of the line needs to be longer. Initially, we won’t add equipment, but plans are in the works in the next 12-18 months to do that. We want to get in and get comfortable. Stretch out a little bit and then move forward.”

Hutson described Malish Plastics as a job shop that does mostly custom work, although it still makes those brush cores for its parent company and even competitors. When brush business opportunities moved overseas, Malish Corp. did, too. The company opened a plant in China in 1998, and Hutson said it grew there with rotational molding, injection molding and brush-making operations.

Malish also has a joint venture partnership to manufacture brushes in Poland, Hutson said. In addition, the company website lists a logistics facility in the Netherlands to handle European orders.

Back in Ohio, Hutson said there have been business inquiries about taking on new jobs.

“If we grow the way we expect, we expect jobs to be created every year,” he said of the Mentor plant. “We’re a pretty solid company between the brush business and the plastic business.”

Malish currently has about 125 U.S. employees and 125 employees in China.