RICHFIELD, CONN.-Citing difficulty in finding trained mold makers, Arma Tool & Die Co. of Richfield purchased toolmaker Latham Manufacturing Co. Inc. of nearby Fairfield - nearly tripling its toolmaking staff. Arma President Arnim Jebe said all Latham employees will be retained at the Fairfield plant. Jebe said he had not determined if the Fairfield facility's name will be changed.
Arma, a 35-year-old medical injection molder whose customers include U.S. Surgical Sup-ply in Norwalk, Conn., added eight toolmakers to its existing staff of three, Jebe said. He noting that older toolmakers are retiring at a rapid rate and well-trained people are difficult to find.
Jebe said business is good with his 12 injection molding ma-chines, which have clamping forces of 28-85 tons, but Arma has no plans to increase the number of presses in its inventory.
However, ``The need for en-hanced mold-making capabilities is crucial,'' he said in a telephone interview. ``Turnaround time [in the Richfield shop] was getting too long.''
Jebe, who declined to disclose a purchase price, said he had been in negotiations with Latham for about four months.
Al Hudick, one of Latham's two partners, described the business as ``strictly plastic mold making.'' He said his 30-year-old company had been approached by others for acquisition, but the purchase by Arma was approved in part because of assurances that all employees would be retained.
Latham was scheduled to close for two weeks starting July 19, then reopen under the auspices of Arma in August, Jebe said.