Only five years ago, Chapman Tool & Mold Inc. owner Bob Chapman could fit all his employees at a small table.
Now the Brooksville, Fla., company has 64 full-time employees and 20 temporary workers at an air-conditioned, 21,000-square-foot molding and mold-making facility that opened at the end June.
Chapman bought into the business in October 2001, right after the nation was stunned by the terrorist attack of Sept. 11. He purchased Dickson Tool & Mold Inc., which had been around since the 1960s but was faltering. At the start, he had three employees besides himself and was planning to build on a mold-making business that also did low- and medium-volume injection molding.
``I just wanted a little more control of my future,'' Chapman said in a telephone interview.
The company has divided its operations: Chapman Tool & Mold is the injection mold-making part of the business, while Chapman Tool & Manufacturing Inc. is the custom injection molding end.
Both operations are housed in the same building, a 7-year-old facility on 7½ acres that Chapman bought and refurbished.
The companies moved from an 11,500-square-foot home. They also had leased another 5,500 square feet next door.
The new operation is a modern facility with three overhead cranes, a new mixer and plenty of new machinery. He declined to provide a dollar figure for the expansion.
Chapman Tool & Manufacturing has added five Nissei hydraulic injection presses, with clamping forces of 60, 120, 200 and 400 tons. Overall, it now has 14 Nissei presses ranging in size from 44-400 tons.
The company is compliant with ISO 9001:2000.
In tooling, Chapman added a Fadal 4020 machining center to boost its total to four. It also added four milling machines.
While the companies do not release sales figures, Chapman claims their sales have increased 40 percent in each of the past two years. He said the firms do a variety of work, but their strength has been in military contracts, medical enclosures and electronics.
About 70 percent of the work is molding. Chapman Tool & Manufacturing does all the tooling for its sister company. The firms also do secondary operations, such as light assembly and hot stamping.