PITTSFIELD, MASS. — With an expansion that is more than doubling its space and providing a dedicated, 5,000-square-foot, Class 100,000 clean room, custom injection molder Hi-Tech Mold & Tool Inc. is positioning itself for the future.
The company has spent $2.8 million on its new, 54,000-square-foot home, which is to open Nov. 9. It also has spent $750,000 on equipment in the past two years and still expects to add one or two more presses to its current number of 17.
The new facility has room for 50 presses.
President William Kristensen said the project's key has been to involve Hi-Tech's employees in the planning.
``We got everybody involved early on,'' he said. ``This is their building — they do the work every day,'' Kristensen said.
Many employees put in extra time to ready their areas in the new building, he said. Hi-Tech has 70 employees working three shifts, five days a week.The company plans to hire 25 more in the next five years.
Hi-Tech bought land in a new industrial park. It will receive a property-tax break from the city and bonding from the state.
The company said it expects sales totaling $7.2 million this year. Kristensen is shooting for 20 percent sales growth in each of the next five years.
Hi-Tech's primary end markets are medical and industrial, and it expects to receive ISO 9001 certification in the first quarter of next year.
The company has been using a portable clean room; the new building's dedicated clean room has 18-foot ceilings and an overhead crane.
``In general, the medical market is a growth opportunity and this is a chance to get a leg up on the competition,'' said General Manager John Mizia.
The clean room is the centerpiece of the new Hi-Tech Mold & Tool. But the additional space is just as important.
According to Mizia, ``the added space will give us an opportunity for growth.'' Before, he said, the company was ``stymied'' in cramped quarters. It routinely shuffled materials and molds from a 5,000-square-foot warehouse down the street.
``This is a new opportunity to lay out our production flow in an organized manner. This building was designed from scratch for our business,'' Mizia said.
The added space will allow Hi-Tech to increase its secondary operations, which Mizia said include assembly, painting, shielding, ultrasonic welding, pad printing, silk screening, orbital riveting and general machining.
``We are finding people who are looking for more value-added services for the products we do for them,'' Kristensen said.
An example is the agreement it has with Otis Elevator Co. of Farmington, Conn.
``We have a good solid partnership that goes back 15 years,'' said Michael Jordan-Reilley, a spokesman for Otis Elevator.
He added that Hi-Tech has developed many parts for Otis, including items such as buttons, operation panels and boxes. In many cases, plastic has replaced metal parts.
He said work is being done to reduce weight, cut costs and simplify installation, but still maintain the strength and quality of the parts.