Apex adding machinery, clean room

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Apex Resource Technologies Inc. is investing $1.5 million in new machinery and a 3,000-square-foot Class 100,000 clean room as it ramps up its medical molding capacity.

``We do an awful lot with [polyetheretherketone] resin,'' said Don Rochelo, owner and president of the Pittsfield, Mass.-based company, in a recent telephone interview.

He said the company has worked with the high-demand material, which sells for about $1,500 a pound, for about four years. It is used for such medical products as implantable screws.

Now, Rochello said that the company is ramping up its clean room capabilities to do more.

Apex already has moved in six of the first seven Niigata all-electric injection molding machines that will occupy the room. A 55-ton unit was acquired in the fall, while an 85-ton unit was added at the start of May. The room will have space for about 12 injection molding presses. Apex also installed an air-quality system and a crane, as well as double doors and double-paned windows.

Rochelo said Apex is housed in two buildings with about 36,000 square feet of space. It employs 65 and operates 20 injection molding presses, with 40-385 tons of clamping force.

Apex is a company that Rochelo sold to Medsource Technologies Inc. of Plymouth, Minn., in 2000. He did some work for Medsource, but also had another business. In 2002, he bought back the molding and mold-making parts in a separate deals. In 2005, he bound all the companies under the same name - Apex Resource Technologies.

Rochelo said part of the reason he sold the business back in 2000 was to provide a platform for growth. However, that did not work out, as the company was cut back.

``I like the business. During the two years that I was away from the business, I was not happy - I was miserable,'' he said.

Now, the time has changed and he does see room for growth.

Rochelo said the company has worked with Western Mass Electric Co. on various programs to save money on electricity. The company gets a 10 percent rebate when it buys an all-electric injection press, for example.

``We even got a $3,000 rebate when we bought energy-efficient lights in the clean room,'' he said.

Rochelo said that the incentive program has enabled the firm to buy more-efficient machinery that saves money in the long run.

Now, he's looking to add a few more engineers to help with design and project work.