Comet Tool Co. Inc., a molder and toolmaker in Pittman, N.J., is finalizing plans to double the size of its facility, add three high-speed injection molding machines and refine its manufacturing techniques to meet customer demand for increased production capability.
The expansion effort at the 16-acre site is estimated to cost approximately $1.7 million.
Comet's expansion plans call for an additional 73,000 square feet of production, tool assembly and warehouse space at an estimated cost of $1 million. A total of 25,000 square feet of the additional space is earmarked for manufacturing, 15,000 square feet for tool assembly and the reminder for warehousing.
The company expects to invest an additional $750,000 to purchase three all-electric Milacron molding machines and related auxiliary equipment. Completion of the expansion is targeted for July with equipment purchases to follow later in the year.
Comet, which manufactures components for the medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and consumer packaging industries, moved to the existing facility at Pittman in 1996 after it outgrew its 23,000-square-foot plant in Williamstown, N.J.
At the Pittman plant, the company renovated an existing facility and made significant capital investments, including approximately $200,000 in automation equipment. The firm employs about 180.
According to Griff Noon, Comet's director of molding operations, the company's expansion plans are designed to address existing client needs.
``The expansion allows us to combine our cell manufacturing techniques with larger mold-making machines in an effort to reduce costs and provide value-added services for our customers,'' he said.
Comet currently operates 27 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 35-500 tons. Although it has yet to be decided, Noon said clamping forces of the new Milacron machines will range from 700-1,100 tons.
``Our intention is to take our capability up to 1,100 tons,'' he said.
At Comet, cell production techniques are used to perform work such as secondary machining, hand-assembly of multiple components and packaging. Comet uses cells to manufacture approximately 25 percent of its molded products. However, Noon said he expects that figure to increase.
``It seems to be the way that some of our customers seem to be heading. Based on the expansion, I feel it will take up a much larger percentage of our business,'' he said.
Noon said Comet's molding product sales have grown 35 percent annually in recent years. He said the tooling portion of the business has grown 20 percent during the same period.