Mold maker ARC Industries Inc. recently consolidated four production plants formerly located in Elk Grove Village, Ill., in a new, 58,000-square-foot facility on six acres in Schaumburg, Ill. ARC President Dennis Sjodin declined to provide any investment details.
The building was renovated completely to optimize ARC's machining capabilities. For example, some computer numerically controlled and electric discharge machining operations are performed in separate, temperature-controlled rooms to maximize the company's ability to machine cores and cavities to extremely tight tolerances.
Sjodin said one of ARC's goals is to bring a new level of technology to the U.S. mold-making industry. To do that, ARC calibrates the machinery and gauge blocks every six months using laser interferometers certified to National Institute of Standards and Testing guidelines.
``We check our machines so that we can ensure the accuracy of our parts through the accuracy of our machines,'' Sjodin said.
Machine accuracy also reduces the need to check each tolerance individually.
By checking a few dimensional tolerances of a mold core or cavity, it can be determined that all tolerances are at specification. And, Sjodin said, those tolerances are machine-repeatable.
The new facility offers full computer-integrated manufacturing through the use of Unigraphics computer-aided design and manufacturing on an HP-UX system linked to the automated machinery and display terminals on the shop floor. The setup gives ARC the ability to perform machining, wire EDM and EDM sinker operations in a lights-out environment, 24 hours a day.
ARC has 12 CNC vertical machining centers, six CNC wire EDMs including the Charmilles 4000 and 2000 series machines, three Charmilles CNC sinker machines and three CNC grinders. It also has solids modeling capability. In addition, the new facility houses 11 injection molding machines used for mold qualification and sampling.
ARC serves the connector, automotive and appliance industries and specializes in building molds for components with multidimensional (for example, three-axis and five-axis) contour shapes. The firm employs 80.