With national defense escalating in importance, Bales Mold Service Inc. wants to enlist its services for companies in that industry.
The firm, which polishes and plates molds, is launching a precision tooling division at its Downers Grove, Ill., headquarters to handle molds specific to those higher-tech applications, said President Steven Bales.
Bales, interviewed April 30 at Moldmaking 2003 Expo in Cleveland, said the division will target molds for aerospace, military and defense work. The company has plants in Downers Grove and Harlingen, Texas.
Some of those applications use different mold materials and mechanisms than traditional injection molds, Bales said. The company will attempt to gain certification from some of the larger defense contractors and their suppliers, he said.
``It is work that is very detail-oriented and has different challenges than with most injection molds,'' Bales said.
Military work was an important segment for several other companies at the mold show. Mold maker Delco Corp. of Akron, Ohio, has developed a niche in special military and defense gear using plastic-based materials.
At the show, those included battle helmets made of a Teflon material with a rubber overmold, a bulletproof vest with a Teflon inner liner and assorted gun racks and weapons holders.
The company has expanded its list of automated equipment to meet the growing demand for those products and others, said Frank Kern, Delco vice president of sales.
The company is adding a milling machine this year, costing about $600,000, as it continues to expand, Kern said.
``New technology is the way to go,'' Kern said. ``Especially with the precision molds we make.''