Opening a 20,000-square-foot addition and adding plenty of new machinery, Hi-Tech Mold & Tool Inc. is looking forward to what the new year brings.
``We've been bursting at the seams,'' President William Kristensen said in a Dec. 28 telephone interview, right after the company gained an occupancy permit to open an addition to its Pittsfield, Mass, plant.
The firm received a $2.5 million development bond from MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority. Hi-Tech moved to its present site in November 1998. The addition brings space to 74,000 square feet.
Kristensen said the company is seeing growth from aerospace, medical and consumer products customers.
In January 2006, Hi-Tech said it would produce high-strength engineered plastic injection molded valves for Hamilton Sundstrand of Windsor Locks, Conn., as part of an $11 million deal to build the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a new passenger airliner. The plane, which is in development, is scheduled to start production this year and will contain as much as 50 percent composite materials.
The Dreamliner contract runs through 2028. The deal already has more than doubled in worth to about $25 million and probably will keep growing as sales for the airplane increase, Kristensen said.
``My company is 24 years old and we wanted to be full-service, stressing engineering resins and tight tolerances,'' he said. He said Hi-Tech may be forced to build even more to keep up with growth.
He said the expansion will reconfigure the operation to increase clean room space and provide a clean assembly area. Hi-Tech currently has 5,000 square feet of Class 100,000 clean room space, and that will grow to 9,500 square feet by the third quarter.
Hi-Tech recently added three all-electric injection presses - one with 500 tons of clamping force for aerospace and two 400-tonners for medical molding. Overall, the firm has 28 presses.
Hi-Tech also has updated the tooling room with three new computer numerically controlled vertical mills and a CNC lathe.