A custom injection molder in Rochester, N.Y., has spent about $2.2 million on a new location, equipment and other upgrades.
EPP Team Inc., doing business as Empire Precision Plastics, was unable to expand at its previous site because the adjacent land had been selected for a multipurpose sports stadium. So the company completed a five-mile move in mid-December, spending more than $1.2 million to upgrade a new site.
The site is part of a 425,000-square-foot building that Delphi Corp. vacated in the mid-1990s. The city, Monroe County and state development agencies, and landlord Maguire Properties Inc. provided $795,000 in grants, a five-year convertible loan and leasehold improvements.
Empire owners Neal Elli, president, and Rick Wilson, vice president, have invested nearly $1 million in quality-assurance initiatives and six Arburg machines. Now, the firm operates 29 presses, with clamping forces of 28-300 tons, and has room for 40, Elli said.
The 42,000-square-foot space - an upgrade from Empire's former facility of 25,000 square feet - provides room for secondary operations that cannot be performed at a press.
Empire installed temperature and humidity controls, an Advantage Engineering Inc. closed-loop-process water system and additional Novatec dryers. HM Cross & Sons Inc. retrofit an overhead crane and gantries that Empire acquired to speed mold changes.
Priamus System Technologies LLC of Brunswick, Ohio, is installing closed-loop quality-control systems for automatic balancing of hot-runner molds.
In 2000-01, amid financial and operational challenges, Empire downsized to 39 employees from a high of 75 ``as the general manufacturing market cooled off,'' Elli said, but Empire began to reinvent itself and now employs 50.
Empire molds close-tolerance parts primarily for electronics uses, including automotive. About 25 percent of the parts weigh less than 0.1 gram.
The had 2004 sales of $7.1 million, vs. $5.5 million in 2003.