Plastics News reporter Steve Toloken wrote the following briefs from the Medical Design & Manufacturing show, held Feb. 5-7 in Anaheim, Calif.
Contour building research facility
Contour Plastics Inc. plans to build a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot research and development and technical center next to its molding plant in Baldwin, Wis.
The injection molder plans to use the building for a larger engineering department, four test presses, more rapid-prototyping equipment and its first in-house tool-building facility. The expansion will cost about $3 million.
``We're competing on a much different level than we have in the past - more high-end, more engineering-driven products,'' said sales engineer Tom Houle. The Baldwin company is doing more ``complete box builds'' that incorporate plastics with other assemblies, he said.
The building will be up by mid-2003, he said. Contour will gain about 13,000 square feet of space in its existing 46,000-square-foot plant, which it will use to make a Class 100,000 clean room.
The company plans to set up its first toolroom, starting with three toolmakers, so that it can build molds faster. The company has 18 presses and will add three in the expansion. It has annual sales of about $15 million.
Marman changes to lights-out toolroom
Molder and toolmaker Marman Industries Inc. has spent $1.4 million to make its toolroom capable of doing ``lights-out'' manufacturing.
The La Verne, Calif., firm also recently bought a 12,500-square-foot building next to its current factory to expand its toolroom. The company moved into the new mold-making space in November, said Dwight Norman, operations manager.
The firm's molding business has declined slightly, and the company laid off about 20 temporary employees in that area in the past year, Norman said. But the company has added six employees in its tool shop, giving it 25 there, he said.
The firm's investment in technology to run a lights-out toolroom will help it compete, Norman said: ``With the automation, you can keep up with overseas competition.''
About 40 percent of the firm's work is in the medical market, with the rest in electronics, irrigation and transportation. The company has 83 employees and 23 injection presses. The Medical Design & Manufacturing West show marked the company's first trade-show exhibition.
* Henry Plastic Molding Inc. in Fremont, Calif., has added a 600-square-foot clean room assembly operation. ... Custom injection molder Classic Industries may put an assembly plant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to complement an existing molding plant in El Paso, Texas. The Latrobe, Pa.-based company expects to make a decision by March. ... American MSI Corp. of Moorpark, Calif., introduced the Altanium series of hot-runner temperature controllers, with a small modular footprint. ... Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., is touting a breathable barrier copolyester film for medical applications. The film is in the development stage. ... Mira Loma, Calif.-based Cal-Mold Inc. is adding its first clean room, a Class 100,000, 4,500-square-foot space. ... Injection molder and mold maker C. Brewer Co. of Anaheim, Calif., nearly has completed an expansion of its clean room. The company will open with at least seven presses, and have space for 15. ... Rexam Medical Packaging in Mundelein, Ill., introduced a nylon-based, multilayer film. ... Dukane Ultrasonics of St. Charles, Ill., introduced a heat-staking and heat-inserting plastic welder with expansion modules. ... Clayton, N.C.-based tubing extruder Natvar Co. has developed a multilayered, non-PVC tubing using polyurethane with an outer layer of elastomer. ... Dow Corning Corp. of Midland, Mich., of introduced a line of liquid silicone rubber elastomers.