Made in Tampa Bay: Seaway Plastics

- If you’re drinking out of a plastic cup or recently changed the channel on your TV, chances are that product went through injection molding.

The first injection molding machine was made in the 1800s and is used today to make anything from bottle caps to mechanical parts. That’s where John Hanke, Business Development Manager, and Seaway Plastics come in. 

“Seaway Plastics Engineering is a custom plastic injection molding company specializing in low volume to mid volume manufacturing,” explained John Hanke.

Founded in the early 1970’s Seaway Plastics found their niche in the quick-turnaround, low- volume production arena.

“An average mold build will be in the 4 to 8-week range, depending on size and complexity,” said Hanke. “We make one mold but we can make tens of thousands of parts off that one mold,” he added.

On average Seaway will build about 200 molds. With those molds, they were able to ship over 6 million products last year.

“It’s a lot of product,” stated Hanke. Adding, “But, they are all in the low volume, so it is 50 of this, 100 of that, 2,000 of that.”

So how does it work? Well, that plastic that is injection into the mold actually starts out in the form of a pellet

“These pellets are put into our machines, they’re run through a screw and barrel and melted. Then that liquid molten plastic is injected into the mold we fabricated,” Hanke explained.

Seaway makes products for a variety of different industries including medical, aerospace, consumer electronics and food service. 

“If you’ve ever been in a 7-11 and pulled a handle on a Slurpee machine, you’ve probably touched some parts that we manufactured right here in Tampa Bay,” said Hanke.

For more info on Seaway Plastics and their custom molding visit

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