LARWILL — Locally-based contract manufacturer Red Star Manufacturing, Inc. recently collaborated with Whitko High School to support component manufacturing for a custom-ordered 10-ton plastic injection molding machine.
In late 2011, Red Star owner Scott Werstler approached Whitko Engineering and Welding Technology teacher Jay Ocken about providing his students with hands-on experience with tools and techniques in component manufacturing.
Over the course of two weeks, four students from Ocken’s Whitko Manufacturing Systems and Processes class worked on a project in the classroom using skills in blueprint reading, precision part layout, precision drilling, milling processes, internal threading, and metal finishing techniques to create parts used to build a machine produced for a small manufacturing facility in Michigan.
The company that purchased the machine is one of two companies in the United States that manufactures door sensors used on mini-vans, car trucks and hatch backs. Products made with this machine will be re-sold and later installed by auto makers throughout the country.
In 2009, Werstler made a strategic decision to split from a partner company and to locate his operations in Whitley County. Red Star produces insert molding, product assembly, and prototyping services for medical device manufacturing customers in California, Indiana, Michigan, and Texas.
The company also designs and builds vertical insert molding machines used in a number of custom molding applications, which means the company can customize its equipment to meet each customer’s specific needs. The company has leveraged its machine building capabilities to produce more than 120 custom machines for other companies across the country.