C&J Industries Inc. has invested $1.2 million in its latest project, a controlled-environment molding operation at its Meadville, Pa., custom molding plant. Also fairly new to the firm's 80,000-square-foot Meadville molding operation: three 55-ton Arburgs and one 700-ton Toshiba. A 500-ton Toshiba is due in May.
The presses, along with ancillary equipment, represent an expenditure of another $1.1 million, said Dale Owens, vice president of finance.
The 22,000-square-foot addition, completed in January, houses the special molding room, redesigned loading docks, a materials-handling area and more warehouse space, according to Dennis Frampton, vice president of operations.
The new controlled environment room ``doesn't look like a typical molding operation,'' with its epoxy floor (scrubbed weekly), drop ceiling and white metal walls, Frampton said in an April 18 telephone interview. It holds 14 presses with clamping forces of 55-230 tons, water chillers and an overhead crane, which loads the molds. Dryers, grinders and other auxiliary equipment are segregated in a hallway outside the room. Utilities and materials are routed underground.
``It looks very similar to putting your molding machines in an office area,'' Frampton said.
The company already has a much smaller, Class 100,000 clean room, with five or six presses, for molding medical products, Owens said.
C&J started out as a tool shop in the early 1960s, with an emphasis on precision work that it has carried through to the present, Frampton said. All the firm's 45 presses do close-tolerance, precision molding. They range from 40-700 tons-about half equipped with robots, though the firm is working toward 100 percent automation, he said. Two 700-ton machines mold large parts, such as for computer printers. Other markets include telecommunications, electrical/electronics, automotive and consumer products.
Two plants employ about 230, including 30 toolmakers. The toolmaking operation, which is equipped with complete computer-aided design and manufacturing, occupies a separate, 15,000-square-foot building several miles away, he said.
C&J reported sales of about $20 million for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30. It is employee-owned.