ABK Tech Inc. is only about a year old but it already is looking to set up several satellite operations for short production runs of housings and enclosures. ABK Tech makes the products using plastic sheet, which it cuts, bends and glues as a low-cost alternative to injection molding. In July it began making prototype modem boxes, keyboard bezels and other electronic products at its Calgary, Alberta, facility, according to Bonny Shears, who is doing business development for ABK Tech.
ABK Tech is the exclusive licensee for technology developed by T.T.K. KunststoffTecnologie GmbH of Munich, Germany. ABK Tech was established in late 1995 by custom injection molder Amp-tech Corp. of Calgary. It operates in a 12,000-square-foot plant a few minutes away from Amptech.
Shears said the TTK-Box technology starts with a flat sheet of high-quality polystyrene, ABS or acrylic. Computer software is used to design a pattern in the sheet that is automatically cut and bent to form a box-like structure. The process avoids expensive molds and castings, allowing rapid and economical prototyping and production runs of up to 5,000 units annually. ABK Tech was sourcing plastic sheet from Germany but likely will make Spartech Corp.'s Portland, Ore., facility its main sheet supplier.
Shears said ABK Tech wants to be near customers to avoid delivery delays, which would offset the rapid turnaround offered by the TTK-Box system. ABK Tech likely will set up its first satellite facility on the U.S. West Coast but she could provide no timetable. She did not disclose customers for ABK Tech's current prototyping work.
ABK Tech claims it can deliver a first prototype one or two weeks after an order and production parts within two or three weeks after customer part approval.
ABK Tech complements Amp-tech's molding business, Shears said in a telephone interview from Calgary. It is geared toward low-cost, short production runs, which she said is a niche market Amptech was not capturing. Shears is marketing manager for Amptech, a contract manufacturer of enclosures and components for telecommunications, electronics and computer markets.
T.T.K. was established in 1990 but its owners had developed the technology several years previous. The company claims its technology can make products with joining edges with precision of 0.1 millimeter.