Flat-die maker Cloeren Inc. is in the midst of a $5 million expansion in Orange, Texas.
Cloeren has doubled the size of one of its die factories, to 24,000 square feet, and purchased new metalworking machines. The company has bought two five-axis, computer numerically controlled milling machines in the past two years. President Peter Cloeren Jr. plans to buy a third five-axis machining center in 2003, to replace older equipment.
The first two centers were to expand capacity for making wider dies. The firm installed the first machining center in early 2000. The second, which can make dies as wide as 551 inches, went into production in September, Cloeren said.
``We have seen a trend to wider and wider dies, particularly in the cast film market,'' he said.
The company also is spending $900,000 for a new dual-spindle machine to make dies with an internal deckle, a device that changes the width of plastic coming out of a flat die. Peter Cloeren said the machine makes deckle blades, which are very complex parts, to exacting tolerances.
Cloeren also ordered a CNC surface grinder that can handle dies 394 inches wide. The grinder should begin production in May.
The company also has a headquarters building and another plant in Orange, plus a plant in Eau Claire, Wis.