Almega Tooling Inc. has added two mold makers and two design engineers, giving the company a total of 16 mold makers and three design engineers.
The firm also purchased software from Cimatron Technologies Inc. of Livonia, Mich., to speed the design of electrodes.
``The software has the ability to generate an electrode for manufacturing quickly,'' said Almega owner and President Donald Rochelo. ``The time to define what the electrode is and put it in a machine is greatly reduced. It can turn a three-hour job into a 15-minute job.''
Rochelo also owns a sister company, custom injection molder Apex Engineering Corp. The Pittsfield, Mass.-based firms employ a total of 60 and have adopted internal practices to improve rapid tooling and prototype services.
Apex is adding more all-electric injection molding capability and benefiting from incentives from Western Massachusetts Electric Co. of West Springfield, Mass. Apex paid about $150,000 for a new, 200-ton Niigata electric machine that began operating in January. The company received a $30,000 check from the electric utility for installing an energy-efficient machine.
Apex has ordered another 200-ton Niigata electric for installation in late April and anticipates another incentive check. Apex has two 55-ton Niigata electrics and will have a total of 15 presses, with clamping forces of 40-385 tons, including the incoming machine.
During 2002, Rochelo reacquired the molding business in April and the mold shop in June, both from MedSource Technologies Inc. of Plymouth, Minn. Rochelo had sold the businesses to MedSource in early 2000.
Almega and Apex are gaining work due to the failure of mergers and acquisitions, Rochelo said. ``We are looking at $600,000 of molding'' because one company was disappointed in the work of another plastics supplier, and ``we are getting customers from a tooling company that went out of business.''
Rochelo contrasted Almega's work with what is available in China.
``They can't do long-life molds, which is what we do here,'' he said. The Chinese ``don't have the experience to make a true high-production mold that will last 10 years.''