The new Tucson, Ariz., operation of Schnipke Engraving Co. Inc. is growing as a high-precision injection molder of health-care components.
Schnipke Southwest opened in October with nine molding machines with clamping forces of 85-155 tons. The plant added two 40-ton presses in May and three 85-ton units in July.
All are Ferromatik Milacron K-TEC molding machines. ``We plan to standardize on them throughout this plant,'' Ken Motz, Southwest operations manager, said in a news release.
Each press is equipped with the same options including a state-of-the-art vision system, robotics and Motan automated materials-handling system.
Ottoville, Ohio-based Schnipke invested in the Tucson site to supply a major customer with facilities in the Southwest. Tucson is halfway between the original equipment manufacturer's assembly plants and near other medical manufacturing plants. The Arizona site also gives Schnipke access to the California and Mexico markets.
In one building, Schnipke Southwest has 31,000 square feet of controlled environment for manufacturing and 31,000 square feet for warehousing, shipping and receiving. The company has the ability to build out another 28,000 square feet for future development. It expects the site to have 36 presses eventually.
The site went to two shifts shortly after opening. It employs 30 and, in adding a third shift now, may reach 40 people by the end of the year.
``Based on our growth and orders, we projected that we would run out of machine capacity again by the end of July,'' Motz said. ``That's why we ordered the additional five machines.''
Among other parts, Schnipke molds volume knobs for microsize hearing aids, and medical apparatus such as electronic instruments, ultrasonic scalpels, surgical staple-related products and microsurgical devices.
Motz said customers expect a molder to deliver high-quality process control, tooling capability studies, first article inspection reports, failure mode and effects analysis and design of experiment results.
Family-owned Schnipke was started in 1962. In Ohio, the firm employs 200 and operates 42 presses with clamping forces of 22-150 tons in 56,000 square feet.