A Kent, Wash., mold-making firm has added injection molding capabilities to test product performance before customer delivery of a tool.
Precision Mold Inc. is investing $1.3 million for ``people, presses, software, accessory components and building improvements,'' Ron Wentzke, general manager, said in a telephone interview.
The company purchased three Toshiba injection molding presses, buying the latest models with 190, 390 and 610 tons of clamping pressure, equipping each with RJG DartScanner hardware and a DartVision monitoring system and aiming for the high-technology market. Press operations began in mid-April.
The manager's father, Herb Wentzke, learned the mold making trade in his native Germany, founded Precision Mold in Kent in 1968 and continues as president.
``For 30 years, we have been building high-production plastic injection and die cast molds,'' Ron Wentzke said.
In 1995, the firm designed and constructed a 22,000-square-foot, air-conditioned mold making facility, complete with a six-ton overhead crane and employee showers. Adding the molding function required adjustments inside the building and in operations.
Precision added 2,000 square feet for an injection molding office and a mezzanine to house centralized equipment and permit quick changeovers. Conair auxiliaries include four dryer hoppers along with vacuum pumps, water pumps and a cooling tower.
A third designer starts work in mid-May, bringing the employee count to 38, including 26 in tool manufacturing and two new hires and a reassigned apprentice in molding. Precision may hire two more molding staffers this year.
The firm has focused on making molds for the computer electronics and medical industries, principally in the Pacific Northwest region. Hewlett-Packard Co. is its largest customer.
While still concentrating on toolmaking, Precision Mold may expand its molding capabilities in the future ``at another location'' in the community, Ron Wentzke said. He sees value in keeping the mold making and molding functions in separate facilities.