Hy-tech Forming Systems (USA) Inc. of Phoenix is expanding its in-mold decoration capacity and diversifying its customer base.
In March, the firm completed in-house fabrication of an AccuForm cell consisting of three presses and a die cutter. Each press costs $600,000, and the cutter is $60,000.
Hy-tech has operated two other AccuForm presses for four years using proprietary close-tolerance forming technology.
"We will move the business to the new cell" from the older presses, Mike Ward, national sales representative, said in a telephone interview. One of the original units will be dedicated to prototype trials.
"We hope to have the cell completely full and be building the next cell by the middle of the second quarter," Ward said. "We can add a cell every 90 days."
One AccuForm cell can make about 1.5 million covers for mobile phones per month.
The 20,000-square-foot Phoenix facility can accommodate two additional AccuForm cells.
Hy-tech specializes in forming screen-printed, thin-film inserts for in-mold decoration. Inserts for hand-held personal digital assistants accounted for more than 10 percent of Hy-tech's 2000 sales and mobile phones for 5 percent. Both product lines are growing rapidly along with automotive and medical projects.
Preformed inserts for four automotive applications have been in development for two years, and Ward expects them to generate significant production volumes soon.
Hy-tech is working closely with mobile telephone designers on next-generation mobile phones, he said. The Phoenix site employs 50.
A satellite unit, Hy-tech Europe in Newbury, England, employs eight, occupies 5,000 square feet and plans in late 2001 to begin operating a complete AccuForm cell using Phoenix tooling and process technology.