InPro introduces antimicrobial feature for health care facilities

Hospitals are high-traffic areas with a need for safety, guiding signs and privacy. InPro Corp. manufactures products to achieve those goals, while reducing building maintenance costs.

Plastic strips are rolled out to be used as corner guards in health care facilities.

The Muskego-based company makes door and wall protection, wall rails, washroom surrounds, internal signs and curtains for health care facilities.

Those facilities also must be sanitized and kept free of germs whenever possible to prevent the risk of infection. InPro recently started incorporating antimicrobial properties in products to aid in that disinfecting process.

Nicky Rozwick and Mark Szmidt use vacuum forming to make edge protectors at InPro Corp.

“What’s been happening in the health care industry is…there’s a lot of bacteria that have become drug-resistant,” said Mark Alan, senior vice president of product management and development. “In general, companies who are dealing with health care are trying to create 24/7 protection.”

The company was founded in 1979 and remains in the same family. CEO Phillip Ziegler uses tactical planning to set critical company goals and lay out the action steps to achieve them.

“We try to create an entrepreneurial environment,” Ziegler said. “It’s a fun place to work—we play hard and work hard.”

InPro has 460 employees, and adds another 12 to 15 each year. It also experiences about 9 percent growth each year, and is on track for 8.8 percent sales growth in 2013, surpassing the $100 million mark.

“What has really spurred our growth is that we’re truly the only company in our industry that manufactures most of its product,” Ziegler said.

InPro is also the only company in the industry with its own outside sales team, he said. The company fills about 70,000 orders per year for a global customer base.

Twenty years ago, InPro made only wall and door protectors—plastic corner guards and door guards to prevent wear and tear on the building. Then, the company looked at what else hospitals need and expanded its product line to suit, Ziegler said.

Expansion joints for walls, ceilings and floors, solid-surface shower surround walls, fabric curtains to give privacy between patient beds, fire blankets and other health care products are among the additions.

InPro now has a six-building campus in Muskego with 400,000 square feet of space. It also has a sewing shop in Arizona for the curtains.

The majority of InPro’s products are plastic, and are made using extrusion and injection molding. In extrusion molding, pellets of plastic are sucked from silos into a hopper and mixed with color, then gathered into molten material and forced through a die into a water bath. It is most useful for long pieces like the corner and door guards.

The company runs three shifts, and keeps $11 million in product inventory to control lead times.

“Over half of our orders go out in one day,” Ziegler said. “The average lead time is six days.”

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