Complex Tooling & Molding Inc.'s recent $8 million investment in new Boulder, Colo., facilities and capital equipment includes establishment of a cor- porate technology center.
The company acquired three Charmilles units with a total value of about $1 million and installed them in the center. The computer numerically controlled equipment includes a wire electric discharge machine, a sinker EDM and a wire hole driller, according to Jaime Klomhaus, vice president of engineering since Dec. 1.
Previously, he was engineering director with Huron Plastics Group Inc. of St. Clair, Mich., a Tier 1 automotive supplier.
To boost rapid prototyping capabilities, Complex purchased a $600,000 3D Systems stereolithography apparatus.
Also, the center operates two sample-dedicated Engel injection molding presses with clamping forces of 80 and 300 tons.
Complex has undergone a major transformation in its headquarters city, moving in stages to a 106,000-square-foot facility in Boulder's Gunbarrel section from its 27-year home of 62,000 square feet in a nearby industrial park.
The technology center uses 40,000 square feet and employs 45, including 35 toolmakers. In the relocation, the tool shop doubled its space and began operations in the technology center in mid-December.
The company also started ramping up 27 relocated injection presses in February. The Van Dorn, Toyo, Engel and Nissei presses have clamping forces of 40-550 tons and occupy 40,000 square feet. Assembly operations use another 20,000 square feet.
Mainly, Complex supplies the computer, business equipment, computer peripheral and telecommunications markets. In recent years, Complex has handled major tooling, molding and assembly work for Compaq Computer Corp., Iomega Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Lucent Technologies Inc., 3Com Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp.
Complex has consolidated functions to meet shorter product development cycle times, Dan Kelly, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a telephone interview.
A product may be market-viable for 12-15 months before a customer makes a change, necessitating speed up front, according to Kelly.
Klomhaus estimates the Complex consolidation may shave one week off a typical cycle.
Meanwhile, Complex is cooking other plans.
``Within a few weeks, we will announce a site for an integrated metal-plastic molding facility,'' Kelly said.
On Nov. 17, Complex acquired a metal-stamping operation, now the firm's Krasberg Metals division in Des Plaines, Ill.
Complex operates other plastics injection molding facilities in San Diego; Memphis, Tenn.; Houston; and Asheboro, N.C. In total, Complex employs about 620, including more than 200 in Boulder.